| Main | | Idaho Radio | | Montana Radio | | Rodeo Profiles | | Useful Websites | | Facebook |

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 27, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 27, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 26, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 26, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 25, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 25, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 24, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 24, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 21, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 21, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 20, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 20, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 19, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 19, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 18, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 18, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 14, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 14, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 13, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 13, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 12, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 12, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 7, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 7, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 6, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 6, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 5, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 5, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 31, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 31, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 30, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 30, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 29, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 29, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 28, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 28, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 27, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 27, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 23, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 23, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 22, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 22, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 21, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 21, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 20, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 20, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 17, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 17, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 16, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 16, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 15, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 15, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 14, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 14, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 13, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 13, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 10, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 10, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 9, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 9, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 8, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 8, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 7, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 7, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 6, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 6, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 3, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 3, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 2, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 2, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 1, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 1, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 30, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 29, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 26, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 26, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 24, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 24, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 23, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 22, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 22, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 19, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 19, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 18, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 18, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 17, 2021 |


| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 17, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 16, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 16, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 15, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 15, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 12, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 12, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 11, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 11, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 10, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 10, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 9, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 9, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 8, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 8, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 5, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 5, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 4, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 4, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 3, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 3, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 2, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 2, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 1, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 1, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 29, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 29, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 28, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 28, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 27, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 27, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 26, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 26, 2021 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 25, 2021 |


NCGA Joins Groups Commenting on Supply Chain Issues The National Corn Growers Association joined 51 other groups in sending comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation on the many issues currently disrupting the U.S. supply chain. The comments offered recommendations on how to alleviate these challenges through legislative and regulatory actions. “To be successful, farmers must have a reliable and fully-functioning national transportation system that allows us to get fall fertilizer shipments and deliver our products to consumers in a timely manner,” says NCGA President Chris Edgington. Their recommendations on inland waterways include prioritizing legislative and regulatory actions that promote the rehabilitation of aging waterway infrastructure on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The groups also encourage the Surface Transportation Board to allow “reciprocal” or “competitive switching,” which would allow shippers and receivers geographically beholden to one rail carrier to gain access to a second rail carrier through a short distance switch. Another transportation recommendation was that USDA and the Transportation Department continue working together to ensure agricultural haulers and the rest of the trucking industry have the flexibilities they need to provide timely delivery of essential products. The recommendations come soon after President Biden’s announcement that the Port of Los Angeles would begin to operate 24/7 to help mitigate the bottleneck on the West Coast. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Output Back to Pre-COVID Levels Bloomberg says U.S. ethanol production reached its highest level since COVID-19 lockdowns brought the industry to a basic standstill. The ethanol industry reached production it hadn’t seen since June 2019. Gasoline demand on a four-week rolling average hit the highest point since 2007 for this time of year. The revival comes as corn is readily available at a relatively cheap price, setting the stage for better profit margins and a potential boost in overseas demand for U.S. supplies. The fuel industry is waiting for overdue Biden administration proposals on mandates requiring refiners to blend fixed amounts of the biofuel into the nation’s fuel supply. “Weak blending proposals from the Environmental Protection Agency would pull the rug out from underneath the industry just as it is finally recovering to pre-COVID levels of production,” Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper says in an email to Bloomberg. The cost of complying with the blending requirement in the Renewable Fuel Standard has been a longtime conflict between biofuel makers and fossil-fuel refiners, who says the cost of compliance credits puts fuel supplies and refining jobs at risk. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Winter Weather Outlook As La Niña climate conditions are back for a second-straight winter, above-average temperatures will show up in the South and most of the eastern U.S. That’s from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, which issued the 2021 Winter Weather Outlook that extends from December 2021 through February 2022. NOAA says that’s consistent with typical La Niña conditions during the winter. They anticipate below-normal temperatures along portions of the northern tier of the U.S., while much of the South will experience above-normal temps. The Southwest U.S. will be the biggest concern as below-normal precipitation won’t improve the drought conditions in that region. Below-normal temps are likely in southern Alaska and the Pacific Northwest eastward through the Northern Plains. The Upper Mississippi River Valley and small parts of the Great Lakes have equal chances for above, near, or below-normal temps. The highest chances of wetter-than-average conditions are in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes, and parts of the Ohio Valley. Drier than normal areas will include southern California and the Southeast U.S. The remainder of the U.S. has equal chances of above, normal, or below-normal temperatures. Widespread severe to exceptional drought continues to dominate the western half of the continental U.S., Northern Plains, and the Missouri River Basin. *********************************************************************************** IRS Anti-Surveillance Bill Introduced in Senate Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley joined several colleagues in introducing the “Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act” in the Senate. The legislation will prevent the Internal Revenue Service from implementing Democrats’ plan to give the agency access to the transaction information of virtually every American. Grassley says the information that the Democrats are seeking is a complete invasion of privacy. “The average American shouldn’t have to explain every financial transaction to the federal government,” Grassley says. “On top of that, this proposal would severely strain our local banks and credit unions with significant implementation and administrative costs.” He also says the IRS hasn’t demonstrated the ability to maintain the confidentiality of the information it already collects. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce is one group supportive of the legislation. “This is an unprecedented attempt to spy on millions of American’s financial transactions and would place onerous new burdens on our private banking institutions,” says Daniel Mehan, President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber. “The proposal would also increase costs for everyone at a time when we’re trying to rebuild our economy. We must put a stop to this reckless and intrusive federal policy.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Makes $1.15 Billion Available to Access High-Speed Internet Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency is making funding available to bring a significant expansion of access to high-speed internet, health care, and educational services for millions of Americans. USDA has $1.15 billion available to help people in rural communities across the country get access to high-speed internet. “For too long, the digital divide has left too many people living in rural communities behind, unable to compete in the global economy and without access to the services and resources that all Americans need,” he says. “These actions will go a long way toward ensuring that people who live or work in rural areas can tap into the benefits of broadband.” He adds that those benefits are numerous, including access to specialized health care, educational opportunities, and the global marketplace. “Rural people, businesses, and communities must have affordable, reliable, high-speed internet so they can fully participate in modern society and the modern economy,” Vilsack adds. USDA will begin accepting applications for loans and grants on November 24. USDA is making the funding available through its ReConnect Program. *********************************************************************************** Corn and Soybean Sales Surge The USDA says export sales of corn and soybeans jumped week-to-week while wheat sales dropped during the week ending on October 14. Corn sales were reported at 1.27 million metric tons, a 22 percent jump from the previous week and 67 percent higher than the prior four-week average. Unknown countries bought more than 456,000 metric tons, while Mexico bought just over 377,000 tons. Weekly exports came in at 1.04 million metric tons, a 14 percent increase from the previous week. Soybean sales totaled 2.88 million metric tons, up from 1.15 million a week earlier and noticeably higher than the prior four-week average. China was back in the buying game, purchasing 1.88 million metric tons, followed by unnamed buyers who bought almost 569,000 metric tons. Exports last week came in at 2.21 million metric tons, a 29 percent increase over the prior week. Wheat sales dropped 36 percent week-to-week to 362,400 metric tons. That’s a six percent drop from the prior four-week average. Nigeria was the top buyer at 98,000 metric tons, followed by Japan at 92,100 tons. Exports of U.S. wheat were 160,200 metric tons, a 65 percent drop from the previous week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 25, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets The final full week of October begins with traders keeping up with the latest weather forecasts and pausing at 8 a.m. CDT for a possible export sale announcement. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather Moderate to heavy rain fell across good portions of the Corn Belt over the weekend and continues over eastern areas on Monday. A system in the West which has been producing flooding over drought areas will continue to slide through western states as well, before emerging into the Plains on Tuesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 22, 2021 |


Thursday a Busy Day for House Ag Committee The House Agriculture Committee Thursday moved several bills through the committee, including the Cattle Contract Library Act. The legislation, announced earlier this week, saw wide support from the agriculture industry. Representative Cindy Axne, an Iowa Democrat on the House Ag Committee, says, “The bill we’ve passed today is just one piece of what is needed,” adding, “There’s more that we must do to support transparency and increase competition in our cattle markets.” The committee also passed a bill that would provide $100 million in additional funds and make permanent the student scholarship program for students at the nineteen 1890 Colleges and Universities. Other bills passed through the committee include the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act, the, National Forest Restoration and Remediation Act, and the Pyrolysis (pie-rol-is-sis) Innovation Grants Act. Speaking of the scholarships bill, Chairman David Scott says, “I deeply and sincerely appreciate both my Democratic and Republican Members of Congress for their strong bipartisan support.” *********************************************************************************** Ranch Group Withholds Endorsement of Contract Library Bill The Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021 introduced this week received support from farm and livestock groups. However, there is one holdout, being R-CALF. The contract library bill requires beef packers to provide details of the types of forward contracts they use for purchasing fed cattle that are not purchased in the negotiated cash market, which is the price discovery market for the cattle industry. The bill also requires the Department of Agriculture to publicly report the total number of cattle that beef packers have committed to them six months and 12 months into the future. R-CALF USA’s board of directors reviewed the bill and determined it does not address the competition-disrupting leverage the highly concentrated beef packers now hold over the cattle market and that new methods of cattle procurement in use today by the largest beef packers may fall outside the scope of the bill. The House Agriculture Committee favorably reported the bill to the full chamber Thursday. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Offers Support to Striking Deere Workers While traveling in Iowa this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offered his support to striking John Deere workers. Visiting union members outside a Deere and Company plant in Iowa, the Secretary told picketers, "You work hard, and you deserve a fair price and a fair deal," according to Reuters. The Deere employees, represented by the United Auto Workers, are joining thousands of others who have gone on strike in recent months. The workers are demanding higher pay and better working conditions. Vilsack told the workers he would be happy to tell Deere Chief Executive Officer John May how important it is to resolve the dispute quickly and fairly. Officials with Deere have repeatedly insisted they want to resolve the strike and maintain their workers status as the best paid in the industry. The strike began earlier this month after 90 percent of hourly workers rejected the company’s contract offer. Roughly 10,000 employees are on strike at 14 Deere locations in the United States. *********************************************************************************** FCC Announces Broadband Funding Through Rural Digital Opportunity Fund The FCC this week announced that it is ready to authorize nearly $550 million in its third round of funding for new broadband deployments through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Together with two prior funding wave announcements, the FCC has now announced over $1 billion in funding to winning bidders for new deployments. In this funding wave, 11 broadband providers will bring fiber-to-the-home gigabit broadband service to over 180,000 locations in 19 states. Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel (rosen-wor-sal) says, “Broadband is an essential service and during the pandemic we’ve seen just how critical it is for families, schools, hospitals, and businesses to have affordable internet access.” The FCC also denied several waiver petitions by companies that did not diligently pursue their applications. The 19 states slated for funding are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. *********************************************************************************** Potential 2022 Supply Chain Issues for Herbicides Supply chain disruptions and material shortages are fueling speculation about a herbicide shortage for the 2022 agriculture growing season. Allan Gray, executive director of the Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business, suggests, "Flooding, COVID-19 outbreaks and congested ports disrupted production and exports in China for months, resulting in chemical manufactures rationing supply." Bill Johnson, Purdue professor of weed science and Purdue Extension weed specialist, encourages producers to plan to minimize the impact on corn and soybean production in the Midwest. Glyphosate and glufosinate are the two main active ingredients that potentially may be in short supply for the next growing season. Johnson warns, "Plan your upcoming weed control strategies to accommodate for limited availability because of supply or price of these two active ingredients.” Even if there isn't a widespread shortage, farmers will likely encounter higher chemical prices resulting in major challenges for corn and soybean production. *********************************************************************************** NIFA Invests $2M for Aquaculture Research USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture recently invested $2 million for seven awards for the Special Research Grants Program for Aquaculture. The grants support the development of new science-based information and technology for environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the United States. The program seeks practical solutions that will facilitate growth of the U.S. aquaculture industry, reduce the U.S. trade deficit in seafood products, and enhance the capacity of the U.S. aquaculture industry to contribute to food security and economic growth. NIFA awarded grants to the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, University of California-Davis, AI Control Technologies Inc, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University-Wooster, Texas A&M University-Chorus Christi, and Texas State University-San Marcos. Global demand for seafood is projected to increase by 70 percent in the next 30 years, and harvests from capture fisheries are stable or declining. A consensus is growing that a dramatic increase in aquaculture is needed to supply future aquatic food needs.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 22, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets Early on Friday, the early report of note is the Manufacturing PMI. We will again be watching for any changes in harvesting weather, and any announcements of new export sales. Friday after the close, we will have the CFTC Commitment of Traders report. Weather Some isolated showers will be possible across the Corn Belt Friday, but most areas east of the Rockies will be drier with quieter weather conditions that should favor harvest. Cooler weather is settling into northern areas as well. Scattered showers will move into the Pacific Northwest, however, which would favor winter wheat establishment.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 21, 2021 |


Vilsack, Villalobos meeting Focused on Trade, ASF and Climate Change The Department of Agriculture Wednesday released a joint statement following bilateral meetings between Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Mexico’s Agriculture Secretary. Vilsack and Victor Villalobos (Villa-bus) met in Ames, Iowa, Wednesday, with meetings focused on agriculture trade between the two countries. In the statement, the leaders say, “We reaffirm the importance of our two nations’ exceptional agricultural trading relationship.” The discussions highlighted the importance of continuing to work together to advance rural prosperity and to fulfill a shared responsibility to protect agricultural systems and producers, according to USDA. That includes collaborative efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever and other animal and plant diseases and pests. The two also addressed climate change, saying, “our farmers, ranchers and producers are on the front lines dealing with the increasingly urgent challenges of climate change.” The pair expressed confidence that the U.S. and Mexico agriculture sectors will be a key part of the solution. *********************************************************************************** Global Ag Productivity Growth Off Target for 2050 Demand An annual report from Virginia Tech University shows agriculture is behind the pace of meeting the productivity needs of 2050. The 2021 Global Agricultural Productivity Report urges the acceleration of productivity growth at all production scales to meet consumers' needs and address human and environmental well-being threats. Productivity growth remains the primary source of agricultural output growth globally. Still, the USDA Economic Research Service's new methodology for calculating total factor productivity reveals it is not growing as fast as previously thought. Globally, total factor productivity grew by an average of 1.36 percent annually from 2010 to 2019, well below the Global Agricultural Productivity Index target of 1.73 percent. The report says human-caused climate change has slowed global agricultural productivity growth by 21 percent since 1961. Researchers say maximizing agriculture’s climate change mitigation potential is essential for sustainability, yet for most of the world’s producers, adapting to climate change and protecting their livelihoods is the most immediate challenge. *********************************************************************************** Larger Livestock Loans Boost Farm Lending Demand for livestock loans grew in the third quarter, boosting agricultural lending activity. However, demand for operating loans was more subdued, and total non-real estate lending remained near its average of the past decade. The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Wednesday said the average size of loans for some livestock categories reached an all-time high and contributed to the increased lending. While the average size of operating loans also remained elevated, a smaller number of loans limited the overall financing of operating expenses. The agricultural economy generally remained strong as elevated commodity prices continued to support farm incomes. Prices of most major crops were at multi-year highs moving into fall harvest and supported farm revenue prospects. However, weakness in the cattle industry persists as low cattle prices continued to limit profit margins for producers. In addition, concerns about drought and higher input costs continued to intensify and likely contributed to an increase in financing needs in the livestock sector. *********************************************************************************** House Lawmakers Introduce Cattle Library Contracts Bill House lawmakers Wednesday announced a bill to create a library for cattle contracts within the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Marketing Service Department. Cattlemen are currently unaware of contract terms offered by packers, leading to a decline in leverage for smaller producers during price negotiations. South Dakota Republican Dusty Johnson and Texas Democrat Henry Cueller introduced the bipartisan Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021. USDA maintains a pork contract library, and following significant volatility in the cattle market and the release of the July 2020 Boxed Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report, the creation of a library was recommended by experts and stakeholders. Representative Johnson states, “Data drives marketing decisions and a contract library will provide much-needed leverage for independent producers.” The legislation received broad support from the American Farm Bureau Federation, National, Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, National Farmers Union, and the Livestock Marketing Association. *********************************************************************************** Brazil Partially Halting Beef Production over China Export Ban Brazil is partially halting beef production intended for China while waiting on China to lift an export ban. Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry made the announcement while claiming China is taking too long to lift the ban. The suspension started on September 4 when Brazil confirmed two atypical cases of mad cow disease, and followed existing trade protocols between Brazil and China. The ministry has also temporarily allowed beef processors to store for up to 60 days meat produced before China's suspension took place, according to Reuters. Brazil's Agriculture Ministry announced this week its Agriculture Minister is willing to travel to China to discuss with Chinese counterparts a potential end to the ban. The World Organization for Animal Health last month said it won’t make any change to Brazil’s status as a “negligible risk” country for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (in-sef-o-lop-athy), the scientific term for mad cow disease. Brazilian beef accounts for 40 percent of China’s imports. *********************************************************************************** Value of Corn in Pet Food A recent study found that corn and corn gluten meal are the top two most used plant-based ingredients in pet food products. Corn is the dominant plant-based carbohydrate at 1.2 million tons, and corn gluten meal is the dominant plant-based protein ingredient at 476,000 tons used annually. Thanks to pet food, the corn industry moved 1.9 million tons of product, valued at a total of $438 million. Farmers and farm-product processors sell $6.9 billion worth of products to pet food manufacturers every year that are used as ingredients. The Institute for Feed Education and Research, the Pet Food Institute, and the North American Renderers Association compiled the data. Sales made by farmers and processors of farm products to pet food manufacturers stimulates further upstream economic activity, leading to the purchase of $5.3 billion of materials and services from farm suppliers, to produce products that are used as pet food ingredients, according to the report.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 21, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Early on Thursday we'll see the release of leading economic indicators, jobless claims and existing home sales. We will also be watching for weekly export sales, out at 7:30 Central time. We will watch for any new flash sales announced at 8 a.m., by the USDA, with an emphasis on China, and we'll look for any significant weather changes. Weather A compact system will continue to bring scattered showers to the eastern Midwest on Thursday while some additional showers form across the Southeast. Some minor impacts are expected from these showers but most areas will continue to have favorable conditions. Lower temperatures have filtered in behind the system across the Plains and western Midwest and some first frosts will be recorded over the next couple of days, which is either on time or late for this time of year.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 20, 2021 |


Ag Groups Formally Object to EPA Chlorpyrifos Rule This week, more than 80 agricultural groups filed formal objections to the Environmental Protection Agency’s August 30 rule to revoke all tolerances of chlorpyrifos (clo-PEER-uh-foss). Stakeholders can object to pesticide tolerance changes or cancellations, and the EPA Administrator must then respond. In the coalition letter, the agriculture sector cited numerous concerns with EPA's revocation decision, including the processes EPA used and lack of scientific basis. EPA's scientific record on chlorpyrifos shows many safe uses of the chemistry do not pose a dietary or environmental risk. Regardless, the coalition charges, the agency is opting to revoke tolerances for these safe, low-risk uses. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall called the EPA action shortsighted, saying, “Taking care of the land and our natural resources is a top priority for farmers, and this revocation rule actually makes it harder for us to do that.” Additionally, EPA’s rule revokes tolerances on crop uses where many growers have few or no alternatives. *********************************************************************************** Ad Council, Others, Reaching Rural Residents on COVID-19 Vaccines The Ad Council and groups representing Rural America are helping rural residents learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative have partnered with the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Cooperative Extension System and the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, among others, for the campaign. The campaign includes public service announcements featuring rural residents and farmers providing their perspectives on the COVID-19 vaccine. In September 2021, incidence rates of COVID-19 in rural America were roughly 54 percent higher than elsewhere in the country, according to the Rural Policy Research Institute. However, large groups among the rural population who remain undecided about vaccination continue to have concerns about long-term side effects of the vaccines and doubts about the efficacy of vaccination due to new breakthrough cases. Recent CDC data reveals that 35 percent of rural Americans are unvaccinated, a vaccination rate ten percent lower than their urban and suburban counterparts. *********************************************************************************** Farmland Sales Expected to Be Especially Brisk The amount of farmland being sold increased since the first of the year and charged ahead during the pre-harvest time frame recently. The increased selling will continue through the fall land sales season and most likely into early winter, according to Farmers National Company. The boost in selling interest by landowners has been largely driven by strong land prices in the past twelve months. A normal amount of land is sold into the open market each year by estates and recent inheritors who decide to sell the newly owned asset instead of keeping it. This often happens with larger family groups who conclude that it is easier to settle the estate with cash instead of land. However, several other reasons are bringing more landowners to conclude that now is the time to sell. Landowners cite high land prices, succession planning, and trading into better quality land. Others cite the uncertainty in tax policy being discussed in Washington. *********************************************************************************** USDA Appoints New Members to Food Safety Advisory Committee The Department of Agriculture appointed 13 new members and 17 returning members to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods Tuesday. Committee members are chosen based on their expertise in microbiology, risk assessment, epidemiology, public health, food science, and other disciplines. One individual affiliated with a consumer group is included in the membership of the committee. The activities of committees are carried out, in part, by subcommittees that are focused on specific topics being considered by the full committee. The committee has contributed to a broad range of food safety issues, and committee reports provide information and scientific advice to federal food safety agencies. The committee also provides a foundation for regulations and programs to reduce foodborne disease and enhance public health. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack adds, "These individuals will play a significant role in helping to ensure the safety of our nation's food supply." The list of members is available on the USDA FSIS website. *********************************************************************************** USDA Launches New Effort to Reduce Salmonella Illnesses Linked to Poultry The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service Tuesday announced a stronger and more comprehensive effort to reduce Salmonella illnesses associated with poultry products. The agency is initiating several activities to gather data and information necessary to support future action and move closer to the national target of a 25 percent reduction in Salmonella illnesses. Despite consistent reductions in the occurrence of Salmonella in poultry products, more than one million consumer illnesses due to Salmonella occur annually, and 23 percent of those illnesses are due to consumption of chicken and turkey. USDA intends to seek stakeholder feedback on specific Salmonella control and measurement strategies, including pilot projects, in poultry slaughter and processing establishments. A key component of the approach is encouraging preharvest controls to reduce Salmonella contamination coming into the slaughterhouse. The data generated from pilots will be used to determine if a different approach could reduce Salmonella illness in consumers. *********************************************************************************** USDA Now Accepting Grant Applications for Wood Products, Energy Deputy Agriculture Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh (Bruh-NAW) announced Tuesday approximately $13 million in new funding opportunities to support innovation in wood products and wood energy. The announcement came during a “Leaders for the Built Environment” virtual event and kicks off National Forest Products Week as proclaimed by President Biden. Organized by the Forest Service, Dovetail Partners, WoodWorks and the Softwood Lumber Board, the event aimed to challenge senior leaders from companies in attendance, like Walmart and Microsoft, to explore how mass timber construction can support their climate and sustainability goals. The USDA Forest Service is now accepting applications for these funds through the 2022 Wood Innovations Grant Program and the 2022 Community Wood Grant Program. The grants are designed to develop and expand the use of wood products and strengthen emerging wood energy markets that support sustainable forest management – particularly in areas of high wildfire risk. The application period for both grant programs closes on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 20, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Early on Wednesday, there are few reports except for the Beige Book, the Fed's report on economic conditions. We will also be watching for any new export sales at 8 a.m., especially to China, and any changes in the weather outlook. At 9:30 a.m. CDT the Energy Information Administration's weekly petroleum report will be released with a focus on ethanol production. Weather A compact little system moving through the Corn Belt will bring some moderate showers from South Dakota to Minnesota on Wednesday, with more isolated showers elsewhere. With harvest progress so far along in both states, impacts to harvest overall will be small. Other areas with only isolated showers should still find mostly favorable conditions for harvest. Lower temperatures are filtering in behind the system across the Northern Plains already.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 19, 2021 |


Vilsack to Host Mexico’s Agriculture Secretary in Iowa Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host bilateral meetings with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Víctor Manuel Villalobos Arámbula (Villa-bus Arm-bew-lah) in Iowa this week. Vilsack will also participate in the World Food Prize Laureate Award ceremony in the Des Moines area. On Wednesday, Secretary Vilsack and Villalobos will travel to Ames, Iowa, for a tour of Iowa State University's Seed Science Center and Plant Sciences Institute. Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Villalobos will also engage in bilateral discussions while at the university. That afternoon, the Secretaries will travel to Ankeny, Iowa, where they will tour a local farm and participate in a conversation about the challenges farmers have faced during the past year and how farmers can be better supported. On Thursday, the leaders will participate in World Food Prize events, in Des Moines, Iowa. That evening, the Secretaries will attend the Laureate Award Ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. *********************************************************************************** EPA Announces Strategy to Confront PFAS Pollution Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan Monday announced the agency’s comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to confront PFAS contamination nationwide. The roadmap results from a thorough analysis conducted by the EPA Council on PFAS that Administrator Regan established in April 2021. EPA's Roadmap is centered on three guiding strategies, including increasing investments in research, leveraging authorities to take action now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination. Administrator Regan says, “For far too long, families across America – especially those in underserved communities – have suffered from PFAS in their water, their air, or in the land their children play on.” The roadmap lays out an aggressive timeline to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure water is safe to drink. In April 2021, Administrator Regan established the EPA Council on PFAS to address the impacts of PFAS contamination. *********************************************************************************** Organic Trade Association Seeking New CEO The Organic Trade Association Monday announced the launch of a nationwide search for a new CEO and Executive Director. After more than a decade of service to OTA and the organic community, current CEO Laura Batcha plans to step down in spring 2022. OTA’s search committee is composed of members of the association’s Board of Directors and led by Board Member Paul Schiefer, who says, “OTA is steering the organic sector into the future; our next CEO will have the unique honor of guiding that journey.” Batcha has worked coast to coast on organic farms, started her own organic botanicals business, worked for several years at a multinational organization, and for the last thirteen years has led the Organic Trade Association. Batcha first joined OTA in 2008 as Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and was named CEO and Executive Director in January of 2014. The Organic Trade Association is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. *********************************************************************************** 2022 World Ag Expo Chairman Announced World Ag Expo recently announced Steve Wilbur as chairman of the 2022 event. A local cotton farmer, Wilbur also runs a dairy with his family, grows feed and multiple row crops. He has previously served as the International Agri-Center Board Chair, as well as being the 2014 Chairman of the California Cotton Growers Association and serving on the board of Cotton Inc. The 2022 show proclaims World Ag Expo is "Back in Agtion," a play on words with a few meanings. While COVID-19 sidelined the live show in 2021, farmers and ag professionals never stopped working during the pandemic. Volunteers and staff are ready to bring back the live show and provide a place for everyone in ag to meet, shop, and learn something new. Tickets are on sale online, and attendees can plan their visit at www.worldagexpo.org. The 55th edition will run Tuesday, February 8 through Thursday, February 10, 2022, at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, California. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Continue Increase The nation's average gas price increased 2.9 cents from a week ago and stands at $3.30 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average is up 7.5 cents from a month ago and $1.08 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 7.8 cents in the last week and stands at $3.53 per gallon. The start of the new week brought oil to yet another fresh seven-year high. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “With OPEC holding back oil production and strong global oil demand, the situation will no doubt pave the road with even higher gas prices in the weeks ahead.” Until several bottlenecks ease, including supply chains and low global inventories of oil, natural gas and coal, the U.S. will be stuck feeling the pinch of rising oil and gasoline prices. According to the Energy Information Administration, crude oil inventories saw a surprising jump, thanks largely to refinery utilization, or inputs, dropping a significant amount. *********************************************************************************** Ocean Mist Farms Announces New CEO Ocean Mist Farms, the leading grower and marketer of fresh artichokes in the U.S. and premium supplier of fresh vegetables for nearly 100 years, announced the promotion of Christopher Drew to President and Chief Executive Officer. Drew will be responsible for leading all commercial, operational, financial, and administrative aspects of Ocean Mist Farms in his new role. The Board of Directors unanimously selected Drew from among many distinguished Produce and Consumer Packaged Goods executives sourced through a national search. In his previous role as COO, Drew collaborated with teams across the organization to streamline strategies and processes and oversee the operational departments and facilities across the organization: cooling, shipping, production, harvesting, food safety, quality assurance, and value-added operations. Before joining Ocean Mist Farms, Drew earned his Bachelor of Science in Crop Science from California Polytechnic University, followed by his Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix - San Jose.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 19, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Early Tuesday we will have housing starts and building permits released. Crop progress results from Monday afternoon will be important. We will also be watching closely for any new export sales announcements to China, and changes in the upcoming harvest weather. Weather A small and compact system will bring scattered showers from Nebraska and South Dakota westward into the Rockies on Tuesday. Some pockets of moderate precipitation will be possible, along with snow in western areas. Other areas will enjoy dry and mild conditions, benefiting harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 18, 2021 |


Ag Groups Want More Action on New Trade Opportunities Agriculture groups recently came together during a Farmers for Free Trade roundtable to talk about trade. They all expressed frustration that the Biden administration hasn’t initiated any new trade talks. The groups are especially interested in more Southeast Asian opportunities as more and more countries show interest in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, formerly known as TPP. A DTN report says that while ag exports have hit record levels, they want the administration to look into getting back into the 11-country trade deal. U.S. agriculture closed out the fiscal year 2021 with a USDA projection of $175.3 billion in final sales, almost $34 billion higher than the previous fiscal year. Joe Glauber (GLAW-ber), a one-time chief economist for the USDA and former ag trade negotiator, says while the U.S. was involved in trade wars during recent years or renegotiating old agreements, America’s competitors weren’t sitting by and watching. “Unfortunately, we decided to leave TPP, but the rest of those countries got an agreement,” Glauber says. “We found ourselves trying to figure out what to do with markets like Japan, which we need, and our competitors now have better access to than we do.” *********************************************************************************** NASS Collecting Additional Information on Local Food Practices The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will be collecting additional information on agricultural products marketed as local foods during 2020. Earlier this year, NASS collected detailed data on 2020 local food marketing practices. This information came from farmers and ranchers who had previously reported local food marketing activity on prior surveys and a census. In light of the extreme dynamics brought on by COVID-19 and reliance on previous indicators of local food marketing based on the 2017 Census of Agriculture, contacting additional producers to get the complete picture of local food marketing practices is now a necessary step. As a result of the current conditions, NASS will collect information from producers who have not indicated prior local food marketing. The data release, originally scheduled for November 18, will now be delayed until the new information and the data collected earlier this year are combined. The 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey report likely won’t get released until early 2022. *********************************************************************************** USDA Working to Strengthen School Meals USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, Stacy Dean, and USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Cindy Long hosted a listening session on school meals. The session took place with 19 school food industry executives to discuss their critical role in strengthening access to nutritious foods for school meals programs, both now and into the future. “USDA’s school meal programs have a wide-reaching impact on the health and well-being of our nation’s children,” Vilsack says. “Now, more than ever, America’s children need access to healthy and nutritious foods, and our industry partners play a huge role in making that happen.” The meeting took place as the department, schools, and other partners across the country celebrated National School Lunch Week from October 11-15. The week is set aside as an opportunity to celebrate the high-quality, delicious, and nutritious lunches children get at their schools. COVID-19 and the resulting economic challenges have highlighted the essential role that school meals play in addressing childhood hunger, as well as the tireless dedication and creativity of school food professionals in making sure that children are well-fed, no matter the situation. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Fertilizer Industry Commits 70-million Acres to Nutrient Stewardship The Fertilizer Institute looked to the future in announcing an industry-wide commitment to commit 70 million acres under 4R Nutrient Stewardship management by 2030. Acres managed under the 4R concept incorporate practices that use the right fertilizer source at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place. When the 4Rs are put into practice, growers can achieve higher yields, lower input costs, and fewer nutrient losses to the environment. “The sustainable use of fertilizer is not only a priority for the fertilizer industry but millions of farmers across the nation,” says Corey Rosenbush, TFI president and CEO. “A key goal for the industry is a commitment to a healthy environment and setting this goal to improve nutrient stewardship is an important step in meeting that goal.” A 4R acre is defined as an acre of U.S. cropland under management using 4R practices, such as organic sources and removal rates, variable technology, split applications, the use of cover crops, accounting for the weather during the application, and several others. Fertilizer is a key component of sustainable crop production systems, and the fertilizer industry recognizes the need to use these nutrients efficiently. Practices based on the right source, rate, time, and placement of fertilizer application can lead to improved on-farm profitability, improved water quality, and reduced loss of greenhouse gas. *********************************************************************************** McDonald’s Testing a Plant-Based Burger in November McDonald’s says it will test the “McPlant” burger in restaurants next month. The chain developed the burger in partnership with Beyond Meats. CNBC says it’s the latest step in McDonald’s cautious approach to adding plant-based meat to its menu. The company took its time learning about meat substitutes and consumer demand, even as other fast-food chains raced to add fake meat items to their respective menus. Rival Burger King added the Impossible Whopper to its menu two years ago. Starting November 3, McDonald’s will offer the fake-meat burger at restaurants in select cities in Texas, Iowa, Louisiana, and California. The meatless burger ingredients include peas, rice, and potatoes, and the McPlant burger will be cooked on the same grills as its legitimate beef patties. The company says the limited test is supposed to help the chain understand the impact of introducing a plant-based burger in its operations. McDonald’s already sells the “McPlant” in international markets like Sweden, Denmark, and several others. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Levels Hit Highest Point Since July The U.S. Energy Information Administration says ethanol output topped the million-barrel a day mark for the first time in two months during the week ending on October 8. At the same time, inventories also began to decline. Biofuel production jumped to an average of 1.032 million barrels a day during the week. That’s up from 978,000 barrels a day, on average, the previous week, and government data says that’s the highest level since July 9. It’s also the first time production averaged more than one million barrels a day since July 30. The nation’s largest producing region is in the Midwest, which averaged 977,000 barrels a day in output during the week, up from 937,000 barrels the previous week and was the highest level since the week ending on July 16. East Coast production doubled to an average of 12,000 barrels a day, while Gulf Coast output surged to 25,000 barrels a day, up from 16,000 the prior week. Rocky Mountain production was steady at 11,000 barrels a day. The only region that saw lower production was the West Coast, which fell to an average of 8,000 barrels a day from 9,000 during the previous week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 18, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Early on Monday both U.S. industrial production and manufacturing production reports will be out. DTN will also be watching for any new announcements of export sales, especially to China and/or unknown destinations, along with export inspections and crop progress on Monday afternoon. Weather A system is moving into the western U.S., but most of the country will be dry as temperatures rise across the Corn Belt on Monday. Conditions will help those that have gotten soggy last week to continue to dry out, but there are showers coming from that western system this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 15, 2021 |


John Deere Workers Go on Strike Deere & Co. couldn’t reach an agreement with workers on a six-year labor contract, prompting thousands of employees to begin a strike on Thursday. Members of the United Auto Workers overwhelmingly rejected a contract that was previously agreed on by the union’s leadership and the tractor maker. After weeks of negotiations, UAW leadership and the world’s biggest farm equipment maker reached agreements on wages and other benefits. However, Reuters says 90 percent of the union’s workers voted against the deal. The tentative deal had covered roughly 10,000 production and maintenance employees in 14 facilities scattered around the U.S. “Pickets have been set up, and our members are organized and ready to hold out and fight for a contract they believe meets their needs,” says Ron McInroy, UAW Region 4 Director. The company says it remains committed to reaching a new agreement, adding that it hasn’t figured out a timeline for finishing the negotiations. The rejected contract proposal would have given five percent wage hikes for some workers and a six percent boost to others. A source familiar with the negotiations says the workers understand they had to make concessions in the past and now want some of those back when Deere is doing financially well. The strike is taking place in the middle of harvest, making it difficult for farmers to find parts for tractors and combines. *********************************************************************************** White House Takes Steps to Address Supply Chain Issues The Biden Administration announced a series of steps in the private and public sectors to help address the continuing supply chain crisis in the U.S. Forbes says the White House actions are intended to help goods move faster and strengthen the resiliency of American supply chains. Operations at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are moving to 24/7 operations. Those two spots take in about 40 percent of all the containers coming into the U.S. and are on track to reach record import numbers in 2021. Biden says this is an across-the-board commitment to going to 24/7. “It’s a first big step in speeding up the movement of materials and goods through our supply chain,” the president says. “But now we need the rest of the private sector chain to step up well.” Biden also says strengthening our supply chains will continue to be his team’s focus, and if federal support is necessary, he’ll direct them to take all appropriate actions. In addition to the expanded hours, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers are willing to work extra shifts to help. Large companies like Walmart, UPS, FedEx, Home Depot, and Target have committed more hours to moving cargo off the docks faster so ships can come ashore. *********************************************************************************** Online Tool Offers Drought-Stricken Ranchers Compensation Estimate for Transportation Costs An online tool is now available to help ranchers document and estimate payments to help cover the costs of feed transportation caused by drought. Those costs are now covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program, or ELAP. The USDA updated the program this year to include feed transportation costs and lowered the threshold for when assistance for water hauling expenses is available. USDA will begin taking applications this fall. “Drought has had a tremendous impact on producers, and we’re thinking outside the box to help producers mitigate the effects of drought, which is a necessary first step to realizing the Secretary’s vision of ensuring agricultural producers get a fair share of the food dollar,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “We’re continually working to make our programs as flexible as possible, so they effectively help producers face today’s challenges.” The new ELAP Feed Transportation Producer Tool is a Microsoft Excel workbook that enables ranchers to input information specific to their operation to determine an estimated payment. Final payments may vary depending on eligibility. More information is available at www.fsa.usa.gov/elap. *********************************************************************************** EPA, Army Announce Regional Roundtables on WOTUS The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army are calling on communities to propose roundtables to provide input on the implications of the new “WOTUS” rule. The regional roundtables will engage stakeholders representing many perspectives in important conversations designed to help the agency work to develop an enduring definition of the “Waters of the U.S. Rule” that supports public health, protects the environment, agricultural activity, and economic growth. “Crafting a lasting definition of WOTUS means that we must bolster our understanding of how different regions experience and protect our nation’s vital waters,” the EPA says in a news release. “These roundtables will provide a great opportunity to deepen our shared knowledge. They also represent an opportunity among a suite of strategic tools that the agencies can utilize to obtain input on this important topic.” The EPA and Army are announcing a process for stakeholders to submit nomination letters with a slate of participants to potentially be selected as one of ten geographically focused roundtables. The agencies are inviting stakeholders to organize a targeted set of interested parties and regional representatives to participate in these discrete roundtables. For more information on the guidelines, go to www.epa.gov/wotus. *********************************************************************************** Food Price Index Continues to Climb Food prices in the nation’s grocery stores continued to climb in September, helping to push the overall Consumer Price Index higher. The food index increased .9 percent in September, following a smaller .4 percent increase in August. The food at home index increased 1.2 percent through the month as all six major grocery store food group indexes rose higher. The index for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 2.2 percent during the month as the index for beef rose 4.8 percent. The index for other food at home rose by 1.1 percent. The cost of fruits and vegetables also went up, as that index was .6 percent higher in September, a larger increase than the rise in August. The cereals and bakery products index jumped 1.1 percent during the month, while the index for dairy and related products rose by .7 percent. It even cost people more to eat out during September as the food away from home index rose .5 percent. An increase in limited and full-service meals was offset by the index for food at employee sites and schools, which continued to fall, dropping 6.4 percent in September. *********************************************************************************** “Fields of Corn” Photo Deadline Approaching Time is running out to get photos submitted for the “Fields of Corn” Photo Contest. It’s the eighth year of the annual photo contest that’s put on by the National Corn Growers Association. The deadline to submit photos is November 30. “We have had some great photos already submitted this year, and harvest is a great opportunity to snap a few more pictures while farmers are in the field and submit to the contest,” says NCGA Graphic Communications Manager Beth Musgrove. “The entries we get throughout the year tell the story of agriculture and rural America and show how the crop progresses during the season.” New categories to the contest this year include “equipment” and “bird’s eye view.” A total of 26 cash prizes will get awarded during the contest. Fields of Corn was launched in 2014 to help tell the story of farming field corn in America. Since the contest began, NCGA has collected more than 2,000 photos across ten categories and awarded more than one hundred cash prizes. For more information on the contest and how to submit photos, go to www.fields-of-corn.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 15, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, along with a report on U.S. retail sales in September. Traders will pause at 8 a.m. to see if USDA has any more export sale announcements. The University of Michigan's early consumer sentiment index for October follows at 9 a.m. Weather A system will move along a front draped across the Midwest on Friday into early Saturday with scattered moderate showers. Recent rainfall across a good portion of the country this week has caused some delays for harvest. Cooler conditions have led to some of the first frosts from Nebraska northward as well. With cooler temperatures behind the front, it may take several days for fields to drain and harvest to start back up again for some areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 14, 2021 |


Checkoff Unveils Undeniably Dairy Campaign Evolution to Reach Gen Z The dairy checkoff is launching a new wave of the Undeniably Dairy campaign to create deeper connections between Gen Z and dairy. "Reset Yourself with Dairy" is a youth-centric evolution of the checkoff's consumer campaign and will use various marketing strategies, including gaming, social media influencers and digital content, to engage with Gen Z to grow sales and trust of dairy. Launched Wednesday, the campaign centers on four aspects of dairy's wellness benefits that checkoff-led consumer research found resonates and drives purchase decisions with Gen Z. Those aspects are immunity, calm, energy and digestive health. Dairy’s role in offering wellness benefits will be featured on a variety of media channels. Anne Warden of Dairy Management Inc. says, “To compete in today’s environment, we will create big, disruptive moments that reassert dairy’s place in young people’s lives in a way that is in the social media and entertainment spaces they love and speaks their language.” *********************************************************************************** Pelosi Warns of Cuts to Build Back Better Act House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week warned her party about the need to trim back the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, the budget reconciliation bill. Pelosi told reporters, “I’m very disappointed we’re not going with the original $3.5 trillion,” adding, "But whatever we do we will make decisions that will continue to be transformative." The bill's price tag and policy scope are likely to be scaled back dramatically, according to the Washington Post. The proposal aims to expand Medicare, combat climate change, improve education, and offer new benefits to help families and children. Much of the spending is financed through new tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. For agriculture, the plan includes $66 billion in funding for research, biofuels and forestry management programs. The proposal also includes $28 billion for conservation and a $35 billion increase in child nutrition programs. Pelosi did not discuss details of the likely cuts to the bill. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Alert USTR of Chinese Influence in Latin America A group of 12 lawmakers recently penned a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative about the growing influence of the Chinese Communist Party in Latin America and Caribbean trade and economic development. Arkansas Republican Representative Rick Crawford announced the effort Wednesday. In a letter to Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the lawmakers asked for immediate attention to the issue. Crawford says China has now surpassed the United States and is the largest non-continental trading partner for 54 percent of South America. The lawmakers say the recent increase of engagement in the Western Hemisphere is a great cause for concern, given China's publicized strategy of becoming a world superpower and dominating the economic stage. The lawmakers jointly write, "Before long, China will be significantly positioned to completely dominate Western Hemisphere economics," adding, "We believe that it is of the highest priority for the U.S. to keep its relationships strong with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere.” *********************************************************************************** Growth in Tractor, Combine Sales Continues to Outpace 2020 Overall sales of tractors and combines continue their growth above an already-hot pace set in 2020, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. total farm tractor sales climbed 2.5 percent in September compared to 2020, while U.S. combine sales jumped 34.6 percent, the third month in a row of growth near or above 20 percent for harvesters. The sub-40 horsepower category stayed moderately positive, growing 0.4 percent, while the mid-size 41-100 horsepower segment was up 2.4 percent. Heavy-duty units saw another big month, with 100-plus horsepower units up 23 percent. However, the articulated 4WD segment slowed just 1.3 percent. Year-to-date farm tractor sales remain up 12.2 percent, and combines growth moved up to 17.3 percent. For Canada, September monthly tractor and combine sales were mostly positive as well, with both tractors and combines finishing the month in the black. AEM’s Curt Blades adds, “Year-to-date, every segment is up double-digits over last year.” *********************************************************************************** Project Focuses on Diversifying Midwest Farms Two Iowa State University researchers will join a five-year project that seeks to make Midwestern agriculture more resilient by moving away from the dominant corn-soybean rotation. The $10 million project is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Iowa State joins Purdue University researchers, who say, "Growing only a rotation of corn and soybeans is not necessarily sustainable economically, environmentally or socially." The project will work with farmers in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa to evaluate alternative cropping systems that can be used in the Midwest. Researchers will evaluate small grains and forage crops in rotations, perennial forage or bioenergy crops, agroforestry, horticultural food crops and grazed livestock. The research proposal received letters of support from farmers, industry organizations, academic institutions, food companies and environmental organizations. Iowa State's J. Arbuckle says, "The project will focus on facilitating diversification that leads to greater economic stability for farmers and agroecological system resilience." *********************************************************************************** Dry Conditions Persist in Upper Missouri River Basin September precipitation was once again below average in the Missouri River Basin as drought plagues much of the western half of the nation. September runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 0.8 million acre-feet, 67 percent of the long-term average. Soil conditions in the upper Basin continue to be very dry. Approximately 88 percent of the Missouri River basin is currently experiencing some form of drought, which is a six percent increase from August. The Army Corps of Engineers expects runoff to remain low through the remainder of the year. The 2021 calendar year runoff forecast for the upper Basin, updated on October 1, is 14.8 million acre-feet, 57 percent of average. Average annual runoff for the upper Basin is 25.8 million acre-feet. If realized, the runoff amount would be the tenth-lowest runoff in 123 years of record-keeping. The Corps of Engineers maintains that navigation flows will be supported through December 1.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 14, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets If you're looking for USDA's weekly export sales report Thursday morning, you'll have to wait one more day as Columbus Day resulted in schedule changes this week. U.S. weekly jobless claims will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, along with a report on U.S. producer prices and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department will have its report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. CDT, followed by weekly energy inventories at 10 a.m. Traders remain interested in weather forecasts and any news of an export sale. Weather The front to this week's system is stalling from the eastern Midwest back through Texas. This front remains active on Thursday with scattered showers and thunderstorms that could become severe and cause additional moderate to locally heavy rainfall. Other areas to the west of this front are trying to recover from the large storm system that moved through and is now in central Canada.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 13, 2021 |


U.S. Corn and Soybean Production up From September Corn and soybean production is up from September 2021, according to the Crop Production report issued Tuesday by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Corn production is up three percent from last year, forecast at 15.0 billion bushels, and soybean growers are expected to increase their production five percent from 2020, forecast at 4.45 billion bushels. Meanwhile, USDA's monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand report calls for slightly increased corn exports, lower feed and residual use, and larger ending stocks. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $5.45 per bushel. Meanwhile, soybean yield is projected at 51.5 bushels per acre, up 0.9 bushels from the September forecast. The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2021/22 is forecast at $12.35 per bushel, down 55 cents reflecting larger supplies. Finally, the outlook for wheat this month is for reduced supplies, lower domestic use, unchanged exports, and decreased ending stocks. The season-average price increased ten cents per bushel to $6.70. *********************************************************************************** USDA Launches First Phase of Soil Carbon Monitoring Efforts through CRP The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $10 million in a new initiative to sample, measure, and monitor soil carbon on Conservation Reserve Program acres. The investment seeks to better quantify the climate outcomes of the program. USDA says CRP is an important tool in the Nation’s fight to reduce the worst impacts of climate change facing our farmers, ranchers, and foresters. This initiative will begin implementation in fall 2021 with three partners. The announcement is part of a broader, long-term soil carbon monitoring effort that supports USDA’s commitment to deliver climate solutions to agricultural producers and rural America through voluntary, incentive-based solutions. USDA partners will conduct soil carbon sampling on three categories of CRP practice types: perennial grass, trees, and wetlands. The three Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative projects are funded through FSA’s program to work with partners to identify Monitoring, Assessment and Evaluation projects to quantify CRP environmental benefits to water quality and quantity, wildlife, and rural economies. *********************************************************************************** USTR Tai Meets with Chinese Counterpart U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with a Chinese counterpart last week before meetings this week with Italy and a European Commission official. Tai held a virtual meeting with China's Vice Premier Friday, to discuss the U.S.-China trade relationship. During their exchange, the duo recognized the importance of the bilateral trade relationship and its impact not only on the United States and China but also the global economy, according to a USTR statement. Additionally, Ambassador Tai emphasized U.S. concerns relating to China’s state-led, non-market policies and practices that harm American workers, farmers and businesses. Left off the table was discussion around a Phase Two agreement with China. Meanwhile, Tai participated in the G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial in Italy Tuesday and is also conducting meetings with World Trade Organization members this week. Tai will also appear in Switzerland this week to give a speech at an event hosted by the Graduate Institute's Geneva Trade Platform. *********************************************************************************** Shipping Container Rates Easing Container shipping rates are showing signs of easing, at least temporarily. On the Shanghai-to-Los Angeles trade route, the rate for a 40-foot container fell nearly $1,000 last week to $11,173, an 8.2 percent drop from the prior week, according to Bloomberg. Ocean freight, however, remains more expensive than it was pre-pandemic, and air cargo rates remain elevated. And, as Bloomberg put it, it’s anyone’s guess if these latest declines in global shipping costs mark the beginning of a plateau, a seasonal turn lower or the start of a steeper correction. Judah Levine, of Hong Kong-based Freightos says that, among other signals, “the price drop also shows that the peak of peak season is behind us.” Regardless, shippers and ports remain in a logjam on the U.S. West coast, with 60 vessels waiting to offload over the weekend. The average wait time is 11 days or longer, compared to an eight-day wait back in April. *********************************************************************************** NOAA Awards More Than $171 Million for Climate Science The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday $171 million to support 72 projects to improve resilience in the fight against the climate crisis. NOAA's Climate Program Office announced the funding, the highest five-year investment in the program's history. This year’s funding is supporting a broad spectrum of research areas that include advancing environmental justice, improvements in climate models and advances in the understanding of ocean observations. Additionally, the projects focus on understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic affected local and regional air quality, advances in resilience planning for future flooding impacts, and studying how emissions and chemical reactions impact air quality and climate. Over the next one to five years, researchers will work on the newly-funded projects in close partnership with NOAA laboratories and research centers. NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad comments, “These new NOAA investments are essential to improve understanding of how to mitigate these impacts and bolster community resilience to climate change.” *********************************************************************************** Nutrient Management Strategies to Headline Virtual Farmer Meeting Farmers and landowners are encouraged to join their peers from Maryland's Catoctin Creek Watershed on October 22 for a free virtual event. The event focuses on incorporating conservation agriculture and soil health practices to create stronger farm businesses and includes a virtual dairy farm tour. Mike McMahon will host the webinar, a winner of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy's 2018 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award. Additional hosts include USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Maryland, Farm Journal Foundation, and Farm Journal's Trust In Food initiative. Using a combination of video and live streaming, McMahon will illustrate his operation’s conservation ag investments and share insights about how other farmers can increase their operations' sustainability and profitability. The event includes updates on soil health and manure management innovation in the ag equipment market from a panel of directors and executives from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Farmers can register at farmjournal.com

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 13, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday morning will find traders still considering USDA's latest round of estimates, checking the weather forecasts and watching for any news of an export sale. The U.S. Labor Department's report on September consumer prices is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT and is likely to show an increase in energy prices. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories is pushed to Thursday as a part of this week's federal holiday schedule. The Federal Reserve will release minutes from its latest FOMC meeting at 2 p.m. CDT. Weather A strong storm system is moving through the Northern Plains with a shield of moderate to heavy rain and snow and a cold front that continues scattered showers across the Central and Southern Plains and into the western Midwest. This system is not only making an impact with precipitation, but strong winds are also noted for a good portion of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest as well Wednesday, along with a couple of bouts of severe weather along the cold front. Widespread freezes have settled in across the West and will leak into the Plains as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 12, 2021 |


Supply Chain Issues to Persists into 2022 A quarterly report from CoBank suggests that while the U.S. economy is still very much in the grips of the pandemic. Supply chains are arguably in the most dire condition since the start of the pandemic, as lead times for manufacturing inputs recently reached record highs. Persistent supply chain disruptions and labor shortages are adding significant costs to businesses and consumers. A CoBank researcher suggests, “Supply chain snarls are likely to persist well into 2022, and so will elevated inflation.” Rapidly rising input costs and product shortages are hitting agriculture, as commodity prices have flattened, and inflation compresses margins. However, robust exports have kept much of agriculture in the black. CoBank says corn, soybean and wheat prices declined from their third-quarter highs, but will likely rebound due to tight supplies and improving demand. Returning demand from foodservice led to strength to U.S. meat and poultry. However, inflation is expected to test consumers' appetite for meat during the fourth quarter. *********************************************************************************** AFBF Forms Partnership with MANRRS The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences announced an agreement to increase minority involvement in agriculture. The groups signed a memorandum of understanding for collaboration on projects. The projects include written content for each organization's publications, providing leadership training and expertise, and cross-promoting programs and events. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, "We believe the partnership we're forming today will benefit both of our organizations and all of agriculture." Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller, President of the National Society of MANRRS, adds the partnership will ensure "all of the voices of the agricultural community are heard as we work together to develop a well-trained workforce." The partnership is a continuation of AFBF's goal to expand coalitions and alliances to increase the effectiveness of its grassroots organization. Other partnerships include FFA and 4-H, which foster the growth of young people interested in pursuing careers in agriculture. *********************************************************************************** USDA Commits $25 Million for Programs reaching Underserved Communities The Department of Agriculture last week announced a trio of awards totaling nearly $25 million in grants and cooperative agreements. The funding seeks to ensure broader access and participation in USDA programs and services for historically underserved farmers and ranchers. The effort is the latest in a series of announcements around USDA's commitment to root out generations of systemic racism, center equity in decision-making and policymaking, lower barriers to access and ensure USDA programming is inclusive of all employees and all customers. One set of awards announced Friday includes $18.6 million in grants to provide training, outreach, and technical assistance to historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers in 21 states through USDA's 2501 Program. Additionally, USDA's Farm Service Agency is awarding $4.7 million to organizations for projects that will provide historically underserved producers with improved access and technical assistance as they apply for and FSA programs and services. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investment to Strengthen Hispanic-Serving Higher Education The Department of Agriculture recently announced $12 million for Hispanic-serving Institutions of higher education. The announcement last week was part of a launch of the first in a series of virtual roundtable engagement sessions with Minority-serving Institutions and Land-grant Universities serving underrepresented students. The funding is part of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Hispanic-serving Institutions Education Grants Program. It includes investments in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico and Texas. As part of the funding, California State University, Long Beach, will use $975,000 for its "Leveraging Interdisciplinary Nutritional Knowledge" Program. The program aims to support undergraduate and graduate students in the food and human sciences professional and scientific workforce. Texas A&M, Kingsville, will use its $975,000 grant to support its Getting Occupational Student Training in Agricultural Research Through Novel Workshops project. Through this project, students are exposed to experiential-based learning and partnerships with USDA researchers. *********************************************************************************** McDonald's Seeks net Zero Emissions by 2050 McDonald's Corporation recently announced a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions across its global operations by 2050. The company is joining the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and signing on to the Science Based Targets initiative's Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. McDonald's will increase the emissions reduction levels in its existing 2030 science-based target and will set a long-term reduction target to reach net-zero emissions. Efforts underway since 2018 have already resulted in an 8.5 percent reduction in the absolute emissions of restaurants and offices and a 5.9 percent decrease in supply chain emissions intensity against a 2015 baseline. McDonald's says a world with lower greenhouse gas emissions will result in more favorable conditions for farmers and ranchers. Efforts by the company to meet the goal include reducing emissions in its supply chain, empowering employees to innovate and use locally tailored solutions, and offer insights to others to reduce emissions in forest, land and agriculture. *********************************************************************************** Oil Prices Reach 7 Year High, Gas Prices Surge Oil prices reached a seven-year high last week, pushing fuel prices higher. The national average price of gas jumped 5.2 cents to $3.25 a gallon, and the price of diesel increased 10.4 cents to $3.45 a gallon, according to GasBuddy. Gas prices were pushed to their highest since 2014, all on OPEC’s decision not to raise production more than it already agreed to in July. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “The OPEC decision caused an immediate reaction in oil prices, and amidst what is turning into a global energy crunch, motorists are now spending over $400 million more on gasoline every single day than they were just a year ago.” De Haan adds the problems continue to relate to a surge in demand as the global economy recovers, combined with deep cuts to production from early in the pandemic. With OPEC last week deciding against an additional rise in oil production to meet rising demand, supply will likely remain tight.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 12, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Four USDA reports are on Tuesday's docket, starting with weekly grain export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT. USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports are both due out at 11 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale that might emerge. Weather A strong system that is already producing snow in the front range of Montana and Wyoming will develop a strong low in Colorado later Tuesday. This will cause showers and thunderstorms to spring up across the Plains later Tuesday and especially Tuesday night. Some thunderstorms across the Southern Plains may be severe and winds may be breezy in the Plains as well. Heavy rainfall amounts will continue with this system as it spreads north and east through Wednesday as well, causing harvest delays but improving soil moisture for winter wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 11, 2021 |


USDA Considering Waivers for Slower Pork Plant Processing Lines Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is working on a proposal for a waiver system for hog plants forced by a federal court to slow down their processing lines. Waivers that would allow plants to speed up processing lines again could renew concerns about worker safety but boost profits for pork companies and farmers. Vilsack didn’t specify what those waivers would do or how they would get implemented. A federal judge ruled earlier this year against the Trump administration rule that allowed pork plants to run slaughter lines without speed limits, as long as they prevented contamination and minimized bacteria. Reuters says the United Food and Commercial Workers Union had challenged the 2019 rule because of worker safety issues. The Biden administration’s USDA didn’t appeal the ruling. However, the agency is now looking at ways to allow more adequate processing speeds but doing so without endangering worker health and safety. Vilsack told a Congressional hearing that USDA is working with the pork industry and workers’ representatives on the issue. Seaboard Foods sped up its plant in Oklahoma last year, becoming the first company to operate under the 2019 rule. Before the rule change, six other U.S. pork plants had bypassed previous speed limits with special USDA permission. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Committee Dems Want Ag Spending Preserved House Ag Committee Chair David Scott and fellow Democrats sent a letter to House and Senate leadership asking them to preserve the ag spending provisions in the Build Back Better Act. They point out that the provisions included in the agriculture portion of the Build Back Better Act will make transformative investments that will benefit agricultural producers and rural communities for years in areas of agricultural research, rural development, renewable energy, biofuels, conservation, and forestry. “America has been the world leader in agricultural research and innovation, but that position is at risk if we do not make key investments in research and education programs,” they say in the letter. The Democrats also note that the funding provided for climate-smart agricultural practices will help address the fact that the current farm bill conservation programs are already oversubscribed, with continuing backlogs that show the demand from producers and landowners who are willing to undertake efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rebuild soil carbon. “We encourage you to keep these crucial investments in place, and we look forward to furthering discussions on the importance these investments will have, especially as we prepare to write the next Farm Bill,” they added. *********************************************************************************** Torres Small Confirmed as Undersecretary for Rural Development The U.S. Senate confirmed Congresswoman Xochitl (So-CHEEL) Torres Small as the USDA’s Undersecretary for Rural Development. “As Undersecretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small will build on her legacy as a champion for small towns and rural communities, much like the one she grew up in in New Mexico,” says Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow. “She will give voice to 60 million rural Americans at the highest levels of USDA, and I look forward to working with her to address critical rural needs including high-speed internet, infrastructure, and good-paying jobs.” Ranking Senate Ag Committee Member John Boozman says that while the committee handles a wide range of issues, everything they do boils down to improving the livelihoods and future for those who call rural America home. “There are many pressing challenges facing our rural communities that we must work together to address,” he says. “I congratulate Undersecretary Torres Small and am ready to work with her to expand access to affordable high-speed broadband, ensure continued access to reliable energy production, improve water infrastructure, and create new economic opportunities in rural America.” *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Export Numbers Good Despite COVID-19 The numbers for the most recent marketing year that ended on August 31 show there is good news for U.S. ethanol exports. U.S. ethanol exports reached the fifth-highest total on record despite the market challenges brought on by COVID-19. Exports were down eight percent from the previous marketing year, reflecting the challenges that COVID restrictions had on fuel demand and trade. The first half of the year’s exports occurred before the widespread stay-at-home orders were issued that drastically lowered fuel demand around the world. “The lingering effects of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were reflected in the global ethanol trade in the most recent marketing year,” says Brian Healy, director of global ethanol market development for the U.S. Grains Council. “Looking forward, more aggressive blend rates that have already been set, or will need to be set, to meet emissions reduction goals, will support increased global ethanol demand and trade.” The USGC says Canada was the top export market for U.S. ethanol over the previous marketing year as fuel demand recovered after being down approximately 14 percent during the previous marketing year. India and South Korea round out the top three market destinations for U.S. ethanol exports. *********************************************************************************** Biden Administration Can’t Get Conservation Win “On Paper” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council criticized the Biden administration’s unilateral designations on national monuments in Utah. The administration put sweeping federal designations on millions of acres surrounding the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. After months of rhetoric on their intent to work collaboratively with state governments and local communities, the administration opted to make these designations rather than create a conservation strategy that would incorporate local stakeholder input and avoid the “management whiplash” of a unilateral federal designation. By ignoring efforts to reach a permanent solution, the administration prolonged the back-and-forth political football that occurs with national monument boundaries during each change of administration. “Conservation is more than signing a piece of paper,” says PLC Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover. “It requires long-term planning, active management, the help and investment of knowledgeable land users, local residents, and state leaders who perform the day-to-day work of maintaining landscapes and ecosystems.” She also says these designations only win conservation points “on paper.” The reality is much different. “They will lead to the kind of conservation strategy that we know from experience does not support healthy ecosystems long-term,” she adds. *********************************************************************************** Vaccine Requirement Won’t Close FSA Offices The Biden Administration’s requirement that all federal employees, including the employees of the Farm Service Agency, be vaccinated against COVID-19 will not cause FSA offices to close or farmers to receive a less-than-usual level of service. The Hagstrom Report says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack made that statement last week during a House Agriculture Committee hearing. Representative Vicki Hartzler of Missouri mentioned to the secretary that she’s afraid the reluctance of some employees to get the vaccine might cause FSA offices to close, or at worst, have to provide a lower level of service than farmers have come to expect. She asked Vilsack if he had considered exemptions to the vaccine requirement, to which the secretary said there are exemptions for both religious and health reasons. Vilsack also said during the hearing that, “We will do what we need to do to keep offices open. I don’t anticipate we will see a significant number of closed offices.” Vilsack made the comments while testifying at a hearing on the state of the livestock industry, where he presented testimony on USDA’s efforts ranging from developing an African Swine Fever vaccine to the assistance available for producers and companies affected by COVID-19.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 11, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Monday is Columbus Day and federal offices are closed, along with some banks. Ag futures markets are open, as usual, and traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts with storms threatening to interrupt harvest this week. USDA's weekly reports of grain export inspections and Crop Progress will be released Tuesday, the same day USDA will release its Crop Production and WASDE reports for October. Weather A system is leaving the Southern Plains and heading northeast through the Midwest on Monday. The system is carrying scattered showers and pockets of moderate rainfall. Some severe weather will be possible centered around Illinois later in the day. The Plains will only have a brief day to dry out from weekend rainfall before the next system develops on Tuesday. It is getting more difficult to harvest while the rainfall is good for winter wheat areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 8, 2021 |


Global Food Prices Up 32 Percent Since September 2020 Global food prices are 32.8 percent higher compared to September of last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports. The Monthly Food Price index average 130 points in September 2021, up 1.2 percent from last month, also reaching a ten-year high. The increase was largely driven by higher prices of most cereals and vegetable oils. Dairy and sugar prices were also firmer, while the meat price sub-index remained stable. The Cereal Price Index averaged 132.5 points in September, up 2.6 points from August and 28.5 points above its level of September 2020. Among the major cereals, world wheat prices increased the most in September, up almost four percent from August and in some cases 41 percent on the year. The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 168.6 points in September, up 2.9 points, while the Dairy Price Index averaged 117.9 points in September, up 1.7 points from August. The Meat Price Index averaged 115.5 points in September, virtually unchanged from August and 24.1 points above its value a year ago. *********************************************************************************** August Beef Exports Top $1 Billion; Pork Exports Remain on Record Pace U.S. beef exports soared to another new value record in August, topping the $1 billion mark for the first time. The U.S. Meat Export Federation reports pork exports posted another strong month in August as well, remaining ahead of the record pace established in 2020. Led by record shipments to China and the largest exports of the year to Japan, August beef exports totaled 132,500 metric tons. Export volume was up 21 percent from a year ago, while export value climbed 55 percent to $1.04 billion. For January through August, beef exports increased 18 percent from a year ago to 955,400 metric tons, with value up 34 percent to $6.6 billion. Pork exports totaled 225,800 metric tons in August, up four percent from a year ago, and value increased 20 percent to $633.9 million. For January through August, exports were 1.5 percent above last year at just over two million metric tons, while value climbed ten percent to $5.62 billion. *********************************************************************************** EPA Announces Appointment of Rod Snyder as EPA Agriculture Advisor The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday the appointment of Rod Snyder to become EPA’s Agriculture Advisor. Snyder will lead outreach and engagement efforts with the agricultural community for EPA, working to advance the Biden-Harris environmental agenda for farmers and rural communities. Snyder is nationally recognized for his leadership at the intersection of agricultural and environmental policy, and joins the agency after serving as president of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott says of the appointment, “I know that he will be a valuable member of the Administrator’s senior leadership team.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall adds he is confident Snyder “will be a strong advocate” for engagement and collaboration. Before his time at Field to Market, Snyder worked for the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. In 2015, Snyder co-founded the Sustainable Agriculture Summit, which has grown to be the largest and most prominent annual sustainable agriculture conference in North America. *********************************************************************************** Farmer-led Coalition Advancing $100/acre Climate Policy Plan Rural Investment to Protect our Environment, known as RIPE, seeks to reward farmers for voluntary stewardship through the RIPE100 plan. The farmer-led nonprofit seeks to pay farmers $100 per acre, rewarding farmers for the total public value of their conservation practices. In addition to carbon sequestration, the voluntary federal program would pay for improved soil health, cleaner water, biodiversity and other environmental services. Brandon Hunnicutt, RIPE steering committee chair and Nebraska farmer says, "This is a first-of-its-kind policy that will help farmers invest in environmental improvements while mitigating the risk of implementing a new practice." The organization is advancing the policy plan, that will ensure that climate policy does not negatively affect farmer profitability. RIPE payments would surpass the full cost of practice implementation and input cost increases from climate policy. RIPE is a coalition of farmers, ranchers, and agricultural trade association representatives advancing a national dialogue for climate policy that integrates fair and forward-looking agricultural solutions. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Plan to Integrate Climate Adaptation Into its Missions and Programs As part of an Administration-wide rollout, the Department of Agriculture Thursday released its climate adaption and resilience plan. The plan describes how USDA will prepare for current and future impacts of climate change. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack claims the plan “lays out the framework for USDA to carry out sustained climate adaptation that addresses current and emerging climate risks and challenges.” The Adaptation Plan identifies key climate threats to agriculture and forestry and outlines five cross-cutting adaptation actions USDA can take, including increasing outreach and education to promote adoption and application of climate-smart strategies. USDA also seeks to broaden access to and availability of climate data at regional and local scales, and increase support for research and development of climate-smart practices and technologies. Finally, the plan will leverage the USDA Climate Hubs as a framework to support USDA Mission Areas in delivering adaptation. The plan is one of 20 developed by the Biden Administration. *********************************************************************************** USDA Awards $248 Million for International School Feeding Projects The Department of Agriculture will invest $248 million in ten new school feeding projects expected to benefit more than a million children worldwide. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jewel Bronaugh (Bruh-NAW) announced the investment Thursday. USDA’s 2021 commitment, through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, includes both direct financial support and the donation of U.S.-grown commodities to be used in school meals. The ten new projects USDA is funding in 2021 are in addition to 40 projects already underway in 30 countries. Some of this year’s funding will go towards local procurement of agricultural commodities to supplement donated U.S. commodities, helping increase dietary diversity and build connections between project schools and local farmers. Through the McGovern-Dole Program, FAS works with development organizations and governments in developing countries to reduce hunger and improve literacy and primary education. Since the program was established in 2002, it’s helped 31 million children in 51 countries.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 8, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department releases reports on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for September at 7:30 a.m. CDT. Traders will continue to check the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. After a one-week holiday, China's markets resume trading Friday. Weather An upper-level low will continue to produce scattered showers across the Midwest down through the Southeast on Friday. Meanwhile, the first of a few storm systems will move into the Northern Plains late on Friday with increasing showers later in the day.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 7, 2021 |


Exports Projected to Reach New High in Fiscal Year 2022 The total value of agriculture exports may reach an all-time high in fiscal year 2022, October through September. USDA's Economic Research Service says higher shipments of major categories of commodities, including grains and feeds, oilseeds, and livestock, poultry, and dairy products, are primarily driving the increase. Total U.S. agricultural export values are projected to reach $177.5 billion in fiscal year 2022, up from $173.5 billion in fiscal year 2021. Grains and feeds export values are projected up from their five-year average, reflecting higher international demand for corn, wheat, and feeds. Oilseeds are projected to reach a record $43.5 billion in fiscal year 2022. International demand for soybeans coupled with higher prices is projected to drive export values to a record high for fiscal year 2021 before increasing further in fiscal year 2022. Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports, which have averaged $29.5 billion from 2015 to 2020, are forecast to rise to $36.8 billion in fiscal year 2022. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Investment in Sustainable Agricultural Research Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday an investment of more than $146 million in sustainable agricultural research projects. The projects are aimed at improving a robust, resilient, climate-smart food and agricultural system. The investment comes from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. The program focuses on a broad base of needed research solutions from addressing labor challenges and promoting land stewardship to correcting climate change impacts in agriculture and critical needs in food and nutrition. The funding is part of the third installment of NIFA grants within its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's Sustainable Agricultural Systems program designed to improve plant and animal production and sustainability, and human and environmental health. Secretary Vilsack says, "Critical issues like food insecurity, drought resilience and response, animal disease prevention, and market disruption requires investments to help meet these challenges." The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is the nation’s leading and largest competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. *********************************************************************************** FNS Invests Nearly $53 Million in SNAP Administration The Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service awarded nearly $53 million to state and local agencies and partners to enhance the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The grants, released throughout August and September 2021, help ensure program operators and partners have the resources, support, and capacity to deliver SNAP benefits efficiently and effectively. Food and Nutrition Service administrator Cindy Long says, “SNAP represents a critical component of America’s food safety net – and now more than ever, we need to ensure that safety net is well-supported.” The grants focused on improving efficiency, program integrity, data and analysis, customer service, SNAP Employment and Training programs, and nutrition. Additionally, the grants include 3.7 million awarded to the National Association of Farmers’ Markets Nutrition Programs, a nonprofit that works with the farmers market community to support farmers interested in offering online payment using SNAP benefits. More than 42.3 million Americans rely on SNAP benefits to afford food. *********************************************************************************** USDA Introduces New Insurance Policy for Farmers Who Sell Locally The Department of Agriculture is rolling out a new insurance option specifically for agricultural producers with small farms who sell locally. The new Micro Farm policy, announced Wednesday, simplifies record keeping and covers post-production costs like washing and value-added products. USDA’s Risk Management Agency created the new policy based on research directed by the 2018 Farm Bill, and it includes feedback from producers who grow for their local communities. The policy will be available beginning with the 2022 crop year. The new policy is offered through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, and it has distinct provisions that can provide more access to the program. The Micro Farm policy is available to producers who have a farm operation that earns an average allowable revenue of $100,000 or less, or for carryover products, an average allowable revenue of $125,000 or less. RMA's research showed that 85 percent of producers who sell locally made less than $75,000 in gross sales. *********************************************************************************** Report: Government Interference in Cattle Markets has Consequences Texas A&M University has completed a comprehensive report on the U.S. cattle and beef markets in response to a bipartisan request from the House Agriculture Committee. Among its key findings is that proposals increasing government intervention and mandates will cost livestock producers billions of dollars. The House Agriculture Committee holds its fourth hearing of the year on cattle markets Thursday (today). North American Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts says the report aligns with testimony in each of the hearings that “supply and demand have the most influence on the price of cattle.” The analysis is a 180-page book that looks at mandates included in proposed legislation to require minimum negotiated cash market purchases. Researchers claim the short-term impact of similar policy is a $2.5 billion negative impact in the first year and a cumulative negative impact of $16 billion over ten years, inflated to 2021 dollars. *********************************************************************************** R-CALF Issues Statement on OFF Act to Reform Checkoff Programs This week, R-CALF welcomed the introduction of the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act, or OFF Act. The OFF Act will reform all checkoff programs, including the beef checkoff program, and was introduced by lawmakers last week in both the House and Senate. Senate Republicans Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky joined Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kristen Gillibrand of New York to introduce the bill. House Democrat Dina Titus of Nevada joined Republican Nancy Mace of South Carolina to introduce a companion bill. Specifically, R-CALF takes aim at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which reportedly receives nearly 82 percent of its revenue from checkoff funds. Efforts to secure a producer referendum vote have failed throughout the Beef Checkoff program's 35-yearlong history, and an R-CALF Representative says, "This is an example of how producer-funded checkoff programs have evolved into mandatory government programs with little to no producer guidance or representation.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 7, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as U.S. jobless claims and the weekly update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Traders will pay attention the Department of Energy's weekly report of natural gas in storage at 9:30 a.m., as well as the latest weather forecasts and any news of an export sale. China's markets are set to return from holiday on Friday. Weather An upper-level low in Missouri will continue to drift northward on Thursday, spreading showers through the Midwest and continuing them in the Southeast. Some delays to harvest will be possible while the rest of the country sees mostly favorable harvest conditions.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 6, 2021 |


September Ag Economy Barometer Reveals Decline Sentiment among agricultural producers weakened in September as the Ag Economy Barometer declined 14 points to a reading of 124. This is the weakest farmer sentiment reading since July 2020, when the index stood at 118. Producers were less optimistic about current and future conditions on their farms and the agricultural sector than a month earlier. There was a sharp rise in farmers' expectations regarding farm input price inflation with more than one-third of respondents expecting input prices to rise by more than 12 percent in the upcoming year. Farmer optimism about future growth in agricultural exports continues to wane, and that, combined with concerns about a squeeze on operating margins, could be contributing to weakness in farmer sentiment. Farmers do, however, remain bullish about farmland values. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer sentiment index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. *********************************************************************************** Barchart Cuts Crop Production Forecasts and Yield Barchart, an agricultural data service and technology provider, released its October 2021 Yield and Production forecasts for U.S. and Canadian field crops. The latest report indicates a decrease in U.S. crop production for corn, soybeans, and hard red winter wheat and a decrease in Canadian production forecasts for spring wheat and soybeans. U.S. corn production is forecasted at 15.3 bushels with a yield of 182.3 bushels per acre, compared to last month's 183.4 and USDA’s forecast of 15.0 billion bushels of production and a yield of 176.3 bushels per acre. Barchart pegs U.S. soybean production at 4.4 billion bushels on an average yield of 51.3 bushels per acre compared to last month's 51.6, similar to USDA’s forecast with a slightly higher yield. The company projects U.S. Hard Red Winter Wheat yields at 45.5 bushels per acre. Meanwhile, Canadian Spring Wheat production is pegged at 746.5 million bushels, and soybeans at 223.1 million bushels, with a 40.0 bushels per acre yield. *********************************************************************************** FARM Act Seeks oversite on Foreign Ag Farmland Investments Lawmakers Tuesday introduced the Foreign Adversary Risk Management or FARM Act. The legislation seeks to combat foreign interference in America's agriculture supply chain through reforms to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Texas Republican Representative Ronny Jackson and Texas Democrat Filemon Vela introduced the legislation in the House. Senator Tommy Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, introduced companion legislation in the Senate. The bill would add the Agriculture Secretary to the Committee on Foreign Investment, an interagency committee authorized to review certain foreign investment transactions, and designate agriculture as critical infrastructure. Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening welcomed the legislation, commenting, “As Texas has experienced a surge of foreign investors buying agricultural land, it is critical that proper oversight is provided to ensure our national security.” Foreign investment in the U.S. agriculture industry has grown rapidly, as foreign investors currently control at least 28.3 million acres of agricultural land valued at $52.2 billion. *********************************************************************************** More States See Record Land Prices Many states are experiencing record land prices across the Midwest. Aggressive bidding continued into summer and the fall selling season, with new high prices often being reached in Iowa. But the land market is also strong in most other crop regions. Farmers National Company recently sold a client's land in northeast Nebraska at a simulcast auction for $12,950-$13,400 per acre, which would be very strong sales if not records for the county. Another recent sale in Nebraska brought $14,000 per acre for non-irrigated cropland. Other states are seeing strong land prices continue into the fall. As farmers and investors bid for the land, Kansas, South Dakota, Illinois, and Indiana are experiencing strong prices for good cropland. Lower quality land is also seeing strength, with sales prices far surpassing expectations in many areas. Land sale activity in the grain belt slows during the heart of harvest. However, auctions and sales will pick up steam again in late October and November. *********************************************************************************** ISU Research Suggests Reducing Fall Fertilizer Applications Research from Iowa State University shows during drought years like this one, there is higher than normal nitrogen stored in soils. Shawn Richmond, Environmental Services Director at the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, explains, “Fertility decisions are always important, but especially so following drought conditions.” Richmond encourages farmers to work with their ag retail partners to consider soil testing for nitrogen, reduce rates of fall fertilizer application and consider split rate of spring applications instead. Cover crops can also help scavenge and hold onto excess nitrogen in the soil, making it available for the following crop instead of being lost through runoff or leaching. The comments were made on WHO radio and promoted by 4R Plus, a coalition of Iowa agricultural and conservation organizations, as part of the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here Campaign. Farmers and their advisors can learn more about conservation practices, like cover crops, by visiting 4RPlus.org. *********************************************************************************** EPA Announces $21.7 Million in Grant Funding for Rural Water Projects The Environmental Protection Agency expects to issue by October 15 a $21.7 million grant funding opportunity to support small drinking water and wastewater systems in rural communities. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika (rad-ee-kah) Fox comments that through the program, "EPA is able to meet the specific needs of small drinking water and wastewater systems to help improve water quality." The EPA says small water systems often face unique financial and operational challenges, including aging infrastructure, workforce shortages, increasing costs, and declining rate bases. EPA anticipates the funding opportunity announcement will solicit projects that provide training and technical assistance to small public water systems, small wastewater systems, and private well owners across the country. Eligible applicants are expected to be nonprofit organizations, nonprofit private universities and colleges, and public higher education institutions. Applicants will have 60 days to apply, and EPA expects to award cooperative agreements by Spring 2022.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 6, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Investors will take note of ADP's estimate of U.S. private sector jobs for September at 7:15 a.m. CDT, a possible hint to Friday's unemployment report. With energy prices on the rise, the U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will get close attention, including last week's ethanol production. As usual, traders will check the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather An upper-level low in the Delta will slowly drift northward over the next several days and the scattered showers we have been seeing in the Southeast will follow it northward through the Midwest. Showers could produce some delays to harvest where they hit. Otherwise, it is another good day for harvest in the Plains and most of the Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 5, 2021 |


U.S. Trade Rep Tai Completes Review, Offers Steps Forward on China The Biden Administration has completed a months-long review of the U.S. trade relationship with China. Pointing out that the previous administration’s unilateral approach alienated allies and trading partners while hurting large sections of the economy, the administration says it took a more deliberate, long-term look at the relationship. The administration announced the four steps it will take to realign America’s trade policies towards China around U.S. priorities. First, they plan to discuss with China its performance under the Phase One Trade Agreement, pointing out that China made commitments that benefit certain industries like agriculture and must be followed through. Second, while pursuing Phase One enforcement, the U.S. will restart the targeted tariff exclusions process to mitigate the effects of certain Section 301 tariffs that raised costs on Americans. Third, the administration still has concerns with China that weren’t included in Phase One, such as concerns that relate to its state-centered and non-market practices that distort economic competition. The final step is consulting and coordinating with allies and partners who share American interested in ensuring the terms of global competition are fair, work collectively to set rules for trade and technology in the 21st century, and strengthen the global market for America’s workers and businesses. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Takes RVP to the Supreme Court Growth Energy filed a petition in the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to review a D.C. Circuit Court opinion in the case of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers vs. the EPA. In that case, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated a 2019 EPA rule allowing year-round sales of a 15 percent ethanol fuel blend. The court’s decision overturned the EPA’s interpretation of a provision of the Clean Air Act that extended a waiver of limits on Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), a measure of fuel volatility, to E15. Growth Energy argues that the decision did not give proper deference to EPA, contradicted Congressional intent in promoting renewable fuels, and would suppress the expansion of higher-blend renewable fuels in the future. “In 2019, EPA paved the way for the sale of E15 year-round,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Its decision was not only a win for the biofuels industry, our ag partners, and rural America but the environment and all drivers nationwide.” Skor also says low-carbon biofuels like ethanol burn cleaner and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent compared to regular gasoline. “We’re asking the Supreme Court to review this decision because it is not in line with important court precedent on statutory interpretation and because of its detrimental environmental impacts,” Skor adds. *********************************************************************************** Higher Loan Limit Available for USDA Farm Loans The USDA says a higher loan limit will be available for borrowers seeking a guaranteed farm loan beginning on October 1. The limit goes from $1.776 million to $1.825 million. “Farm loans are critical for our customers’ annual operating and family living expenses, emergency needs, and cash flow,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (doo-SHEH-know). “Raising the guaranteed loan limit will allow FSA to better meet the financial needs of producers as natural disasters and the pandemic continue to impact their operations.” FSA farm loans offer access to funding for a wide range of producer needs, from securing land to financing equipment purchases. Guaranteed loans are financed and serviced by commercial lenders. FSA provides up to a 95 percent guarantee against the possible financial loss of principal and interest. Guaranteed loans can be used for both farm ownership and operating purposes. FSA saw a continuing strong demand for guaranteed loans during the fiscal year 2021. FSA issued more than $3.4 billion in guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans. This includes almost $1.2 billion for beginning farmers. The number of guaranteed borrowers has grown by 10 percent during the past decade, and FSA expects the increasing demand for farm loans to continue into the next fiscal year. *********************************************************************************** AEM Members Optimistic About Continued Economy Recovery Agriculture and construction manufacturers are upbeat about continuing economic recovery. A second-quarter 2021-member survey done by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers showed optimism remains as strong as it did in the first quarter survey. “Member perception showed a bit more stability in some spots and perhaps a slight decline in other areas of our industries, but overall, they showed great progress,” says Benjamin Duyck (Duck), AEM director of market intelligence. Ag equipment manufacturers aren’t concerned about the recovery being thrown off track. About 76 percent of the Q2 survey respondents reported growth compared to the previous quarter. An even-stronger 87 percent reported growth compared to the previous year. Looking ahead, 90 percent think that growth will continue during the next 12 months. While most AEM members think growth will continue, the general consensus is that the rate of growth will slow a bit. Looking at the total of all ag equipment categories, 6-10 percent growth is expected over the next 12 months, against 11-15 percent growth experienced over the past year. Among the individual ag equipment categories, trailers and transportation equipment grew more than 20 percent over the past year, while 16-20 percent had been predicted before that. *********************************************************************************** Research and Resources to Fight Tar Spot Growers across rural America are reporting unprecedented tar spot infestation this harvest season. When conditions are right, the disease can cause significant yield loss in susceptible corn hybrids. Tar Spot was first detected in the U.S. in 2015 in Illinois and Indiana, and it’s quickly spread through the Corn Belt and caused significant losses. Efforts to combat the disease has been hindered by the difficulty of growing the fungus that causes tar spot in a lab. The National Corn Growers Association has two Action Teams, both ready with support from state checkoff dollars and focused on aiding the fight against Tar Spot. 2021 growers can monitor this year’s reported incidences of tar spot spread on the corn.ipmpipe.org website. If growers see Tar Spot in their fields, they’re encouraged to use the reporting form on the website. The Corn Protection Network’s publication recommends several best management practices, including managing residue of the affected crop to reduce inoculum from overwintering; rotating to other crops to reduce the primary tar spot inoculum; avoiding highly susceptible hybrids, as well as investigating effective fungicides. *********************************************************************************** FSB Sponsors the “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” 300 on NASCAR Circuit For the second time, the Federation of State Beef Councils, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, has once again partnered with the Daytona International Speedway to sponsor a NASCAR race. The federation is sponsoring the 41st season-opening NASCAR race, called the “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner 300.” The event is on Saturday, February 19, one day ahead of the Daytona 500. “Just like great racing legacies, farmers and ranchers have a legacy, also passing it down from generation to generation, and that’s why we’re so excited to once again sponsor this premier sporting event and showcase America’s hard-working beef farmers and ranchers,” says Clay Burtrum, Federation Division Chair for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “Continuing this partnership for a second year allows us to build on everything we developed in year one and expand our footprint even further.” Burtrum also says from tailgating to the big screen, beef is “the star.” From commercial production to social media promotion and traditional media outreach, “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner,” will be back on the racetrack and in the national spotlight.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 5, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. trade deficit for August will be released at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, also providing data for USDA to report on ag exports later Tuesday morning. Traders will consider Monday afternoon's Crop Progress report, check the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather An upper-level low will continue to produce showers mostly east of the Mississippi River and south of the Ohio River on Tuesday, causing further delays to harvest. Drier and warmer conditions elsewhere will benefit the continued harvest. Wetter areas of the Plains and Midwest will see good growth and planting conditions for winter wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 4, 2021 |


Continuing Resolution Provides Much Needed Disaster Assistance for Agriculture The Senate and the House passed a Continuing Resolution to fund federal agencies through December 3. The CR provides $10 billion in much-needed disaster relief for losses incurred by farmers and ranchers in 2020 and 2021. It also extends Livestock Mandatory Reporting through December 3 of this year. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says this is good news for family farmers and ranchers. “In addition to keeping federal programs funded, the CR includes critical relief to help farmers and ranchers recover from disasters,” he says. “This year, America’s family farmers and ranchers have faced hot, dry weather in much of the country, conditions that have led to severe losses of crops and livestock and put their livelihoods in jeopardy.” Larew also says they welcome the short-term extension of the Livestock Mandatory Program, an important tool for price discovery in livestock markets. “LMR ultimately needs to be improved and permanently extended, and we look forward to working with Congress to institute reforms that can help address consolidation in livestock markets.” Georgia Representative Sanford Bishop says, “This support is crucial to our farmers, ranchers, and producers for helping them recover from disaster ensures the fruits of their labor can provide affordable, nutritious food, textiles, and other vital materials across the country.” The CR was signed by President Biden. *********************************************************************************** Biden Administration to Unveil China Trade Strategy on Monday U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will reveal the Biden administration’s long-awaited strategy for moving forward with the U.S.-China trade relationship. Tai will discuss the troubled relationship during a speech at a Washington think tank. Since she first took office in March, Tai has been working through a complete review of Washington’s trade policy with China. Tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods were implemented by the Trump administration and kept in place by Biden. However, Reuters says the administration hasn’t talked a lot about how it will deal with what it calls “China’s non-market trade and subsidy practices.” Monday is the beginning of the final three months of the Phase One trade deal that China reached with the Trump administration early in 2019. That agreement eased a tariff war between the two biggest economies in the world. Administration officials say China hasn’t met its Phase One commitments, and they intend to hold the Asian nation to its international trade commitments. Trade industry experts estimate that China’s purchases of U.S. exports through August are running at about 62 percent of the Phase 1 targets. Tai has asked Congress for new trade laws to counteract Chinese subsidies for high-technology sectors. *********************************************************************************** Senate Confirms New Director of the Bureau of Land Management The Senate voted 50-45 to approve the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning as Director of the Bureau of Land Management. The Montana resident takes over a department that manages about 12 percent of the total landmass in the U.S. The Montana Free Press says her nomination was supported by Montana Democrat Jon Tester. However, ten Republicans on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources signed a letter to President Biden, asking him to withdraw her nomination. The letter centered on Stone-Manning’s role in an investigation into a tree-spiking incident in the Clearwater National Forest in 1989 that eventually resulted in the indictment of four men. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso says Biden’s nominee lied to the energy committee about her involvement in the tree-spiking incident, calling her a “dangerous choice” to put in charge of America’s public lands. Barrasso also pointed out that her nomination was opposed by a long list of policy leaders and organizations, including two former BLM directors, logging groups, and sportsmen’s groups. The final vote on her nomination fell along party lines, with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans opposed. *********************************************************************************** District Court Allows R-CALF Lawsuit to Proceed The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., ruled a lawsuit brought by independent ranchers who say the Beef Checkoff Program threatens their livelihood can go forward. The court’s opinion denied a motion to dismiss by the USDA, writing that the ranchers have successfully alleged they have “associational standing” to challenge USDA’s practices. The case will proceed through discovery. R-CALF USA filed this legal challenge over amendments the USDA made to the operation of the federal Beef Checkoff program in September 2020. Tri-State Livestock News says the new lawsuit builds on R-CALF USA’s Montana litigation, which challenged the constitutionality of the use of Checkoff funds by private state beef councils to fund speech that harms independent producers. R-CALF’s lawsuit asserts that the government unlawfully amended the legal and regulatory framework within which the state beef councils operate without first undergoing a public rulemaking process that gives the public notice of its proposed amendments and provides the public with an opportunity to comment before the changes get implemented. R-CALF says its members, and ranchers everywhere were denied their right to weigh in on a federal program they’re forced to fund. *********************************************************************************** Cattlemen’s Foundation Accepting Applications for Beef Industry Scholarships The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is accepting applications for the 2022-2023 CME Group Beef Industry Scholarship. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be given to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry. Introduced in 1989, the scholarship identifies and encourages talented students who will play an important role in the future of food production. Students studying education, communication, production, research, or other areas related to the beef industry are eligible to apply for the annual scholarship program. Eligible applicants must be graduating high school seniors or full-time undergraduate students enrolled at a two-or-four-year institution. The application includes a one-page letter outlining the student’s career goals related to the beef industry and a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to the program. The applicant or a family member must be a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The deadline is November 12, at midnight, Central Time. The winners get announced at the 2022 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in February 2022. “We’re proud to partner with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and the NCBA to help advance educational opportunities for these hardworking students,” says Tim Andriesen, Managing Director of Agricultural Products with the CME Group. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Potato Sales Strong in Marketing Year 2020-2021 Potato sales at the foodservice level fluctuated while retail purchases remained strong between June 2020 to July 2021. USA Potatoes recently conducted an annual sales and utilization study that showed an overall decline in potato use for the July 2020 – June 2021 marketing year. The decrease was because of an eight percent decline in sales to foodservice and the leveling off of retail sales from the peak panic buying that took place at the end of the previous marketing year. This year’s tight supply of U.S. potatoes, particularly frozen potato products, was made up for by a 12 percent increase in total imports. Despite the uncertainties in the international markets and the extreme problems with international shipping, U.S. potato exports increased by four percent for the marketing year. Retail sales, which includes domestically produced potatoes as well as imports, are up compared to three and five years ago. However, the decline at the foodservice level was too great to overcome. For the past 20 years, the trend has been for more and more sales to go through foodservice establishments compared to retail outlets. The trend was reversed over the past two years, but industry experts say that foodservice will begin to make up a greater share but not right away. USA Potatoes says that demand for potatoes remains strong, potatoes are the number one vegetable at retail, and the top side dish in restaurants.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 4, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets The first full week of October starts with traders checking the latest weather forecasts and pausing at 8 a.m. CDT to see if USDA has an export sale announcement. USDA's weekly grain inspections report at 10 a.m. is expected to show more progress moving grain into the Gulf. USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. will show row crop harvest progress and winter wheat planting progress. Weather Scattered showers will follow an upper-level system east of the Mississippi River on Monday. Drier and warmer conditions to the west will favor the ongoing harvest and winter wheat establishment after last week's rains in the Plains. The Pacific Northwest will continue to struggle with the dryness for winter wheat, however.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 1, 2021 |


AFBF: No Methane Tax on Animals in Reconciliation bill The American Farm Bureau Federation, addressing a social media myth, says “the current language of the reconciliation bill does not impose a methane tax on agriculture.” Those words from AFBF’s Public Affairs Vice President Sam Kieffer, who says the statement seeks to clear up any confusion. Kieffer says that over the summer, Farm Bureau economists conducted an analysis, at the request of Congressional committee staff, to determine the potential impact if agriculture were to be included in legislation imposing such a tax. Farm Bureau did so on the formula set forth in legislative proposals that impose a methane tax on the oil and gas sectors. Kiefer says, “We believe this analysis was informative and helpful in demonstrating that such a tax would have been devastating to agriculture.” Kieffer says Farm Bureau opposes any tax on methane, but “is grateful to lawmakers for recognizing the thin margins in agriculture and that such a tax would undoubtedly put family farms out of business.” Information posted to social media claim the bill included a per-head tax on livestock. *********************************************************************************** US Corn Ending Stocks Down 36% From September 2020 Old crop corn stocks as of September 1, 2021, totaled 1.24 billion bushels, down 36 percent from the same time last year, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Grain Stocks Report. USDA reports 395 million bushels were stored on farms, down 47 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 842 million bushels, were down 28 percent from a year ago. Old crop soybeans storage totaled 256 million bushels, down 51 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 188 million bushels, were down 51 percent from last September. Wheat storage totaled 1.78 billion bushels, down 18 percent from a year ago. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service also released the Small Grain Annual Summary. All wheat production totaled 1.65 billion bushels in 2021, down ten percent from the revised 2020 total. Area harvested for grain totaled 37.2 million acres, up one percent from 2020. The U.S. yield was estimated at 44.3 bushels per acre, down 5.4 bushels from 2020. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces ASF Vaccine Candidate USDA's Agricultural Research Service announced Thursday that one of its vaccine candidates can prevent and protect against African swine fever. Specifically, the vaccine shows effectiveness against the current Asian and European strains of the virus. The findings also show that a commercial partner can replicate experimental-level results and prevent the spread of the virus. The onset of immunity was revealed in approximately one-third of the swine by the second week post-vaccination, with full protection in all swine achieved by the fourth week. The announcement follows a previous announcement this week that USDA is providing $500 million in funding for preparation and prevention regarding African swine fever. To date, ARS has successfully engineered and patented five ASF experimental vaccines and has fully executed seven licenses with pharmaceutical companies to develop the vaccines. A commercial vaccine for ASF virus will be an important part of controlling ASF in outbreak areas. All U.S. vaccine candidates have to go through the APHIS regulatory approval process for use in U.S. swine. *********************************************************************************** Restaurants to Congress: Recovery is Moving in Reverse The National Restaurant Association this week sent results from a new survey to Congress, warning provisions of the Build Back Better Act could harm the rebuilding restaurant industry. Sean Kennedy of the National Restaurant Association says, while they support parts of the Build Back Better Act, “the legislation is too large and too expensive” for small businesses to take on. The national survey of restaurant operators indicated that deteriorating business conditions are impacting operators’ outlook, who believe the recovery from the pandemic will be prolonged well into 2022. Further, costs are up as 81 percent of operators report paying more for food, and others report higher labor and occupancy costs, while 85 percent report smaller profit margins than before the pandemic. The association opposed several tax changes included in the Build Back Better Act, that significantly increase tax obligations on small business operators. The association also urged Congress to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. *********************************************************************************** ERS Study Shows Meatpackers Role in COVID Spread A study from USDA's Economic Research Service shows the role meatpacking plants played in the spread of COVID-19. In what ERS describes as a working paper, the study outlined 49 U.S. nonmetro counties in which 20 percent or more of employment is in meatpacking, defined as meatpacking-dependent counties. This represents 41 percent of all nonmetro counties with employment in a single manufacturing industry. Meatpacking-dependent counties observed nearly ten times more COVID-19 cases in early May of 2020, compared to other manufacturing-dependent counties. By the beginning of July, the difference completely disappeared, driven by a reduction of cases in meatpacking-dependent counties. The study found evidence of large differences between meatpacking communities and a comparison group during the initial industry outbreak, which disappeared after implementing workplace safety precautions. While the study cannot verify that the implemented safety precautions were singlehandedly responsible for the change, it provides evidence that improved working conditions reduced COVID-19 spread. *********************************************************************************** Price Spread for Pork Products Increases as Processing Plant Labor Shortages Continue The COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen longstanding labor shortages in the U.S. pork processing industry. Because the production of deboned products requires more labor, associated prices are higher than bone-in product prices, which have smaller labor requirements, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. When labor shortages are severe, as in the spring of 2020, when COVID-19-related infections of processing plant employees caused some plants to slow or temporarily shut down production, plant managers often shift labor away from deboning activities. The price of deboned pork products then increases in accordance with reduced supplies, while bone-in product prices decline as supply expands. Although the price spread declined through early May 2021 as hog numbers declined in a typical seasonal pattern, it did not return to pre-COVID levels. In mid-to-late August, the price spread became increasingly variable and featured several spikes, suggesting that COVID-related impacts on the labor availability of employees is ongoing, and that price spread turbulence is continuing. *********************************************************************************** NIFA Invests $10 Million for Food Safety Outreach, Training and Education The Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture this week announced a $10 million food safety investment. The investment funds 21 grants to develop and implement food safety and Food Safety Modernization Act-related training, education, extension outreach and technical assistance for food processors and farmers with small to mid-size operations. NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille explains the program “helps deliver critical trainings and resources that equip our small business owners with tools to provide safe, high-quality food.” Additional communities supported through the Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program include beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, veteran farmers and ranchers, and small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. Awards are made under three categories, including Multistate Education and Training Projects, Community Outreach Projects and Collaborative Engagement Supplements. The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed into law in 2011 with food codes that protect communities from foodborne illness, largely focuses on training for large farmers and ranchers with commercial operations.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 1, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets Friday morning reports start at 7:30 a.m. CDT with U.S. personal incomes for August, followed by ISM's index of U.S. manufacturing and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index, both at 9 a.m. USDA's Fats and Oils report is due out at 2 p.m. CDT, providing a soybean crush estimate for August. Traders will continue to consider Thursday's new estimates from Dow Jones, check the weather and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather Scattered showers will continue across the middle of the country on Friday, providing more beneficial soil moisture for winter wheat planting and establishment, and causing some harvest delays for corn, soybeans, and cotton.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 30, 2021 |


USDA Announces Investment Package on Climate, Agriculture Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced a $3 billion comprehensive set of investments to address challenges facing farmers and ranchers. USDA says the investments will support drought resilience and response, animal disease prevention, market disruption relief, and purchase food for school nutrition programs. The support will be made available via the Commodity Credit Corporation. Specifically, the package includes $500 million each for drought, African swine fever, and market disruptions, and up to $1.5 billion to provide assistance to help schools respond to supply chain disruptions. Secretary Vilsack also outlined and requested public comments on a new climate partnership initiative designed to create new revenue streams for producers via market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices. Vilsack adds, “Today, we ask for public input to inform our decision making and enhance the design of this initiative.” USDA is seeking input specifically on the current state of climate-smart commodity markets, systems for quantification, and potential protocols, among other topics. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Welcomes USDA Investment on ASF Prevention The Department of Agriculture’s Wednesday investment includes $500 million in USDA Commodity Credit Corporation funds for prevention of and preparation for African swine fever. The National Pork Producers Council applauded the funding as President Jen Sorenson says ASF is a serious disease, with serious consequences, adding, “We’re pleased USDA recognizes the severity of this threat.” ASF is not a threat to people but is highly contagious among hogs and has a nearly 100 percent mortality rate. ASF was recently detected in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the first time in 40 years the disease has been in the Western Hemisphere. APHIS immediately took steps to stop the spread of the disease to the U.S. mainland and to the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since ASF began spreading through Asia in 2018, NPPC has urged Congress and USDA to prepare for the disease, asking for funding and measures to protect the U.S. hog herd. *********************************************************************************** Joint Initiative Seeks to Promote Competition in the Beef Supply Chain The American Antitrust Institute and Organization for Competitive Markets this week announced a new joint initiative, “Breaking the Market Power Bottleneck in U.S. Beef: A Roadmap for Building an Independent Ranching and Processing Sector.” The initiative seeks to promote competition in the U.S. beef supply chain and supports the competition policy initiatives recently introduced by the Department of Agriculture. The organizations also urge the Department of Justice and USDA to consider a full complement of policy tools needed to support competition in beef, for the benefit of consumers and producers. Between 1980 and 2020, the retail sector’s share of the beef dollar has grown by about 65 percent, while the packer’s share increased by more than 70 percent, according to OCM and AAI. Over the same period, ranchers’ share of the beef dollar dropped by about 40 percent. OCM Executive Director Mike Eby adds, “The strategic expansion of beef processing is a must.” *********************************************************************************** NFU Pleased Lawsuit Against the “Big 4” Packers Moving Forward A federal judge in Minnesota this month ordered a class-action lawsuit against JBS, Tyson, National Beef, and Cargill to proceed. In the case, National Farmers Union is among the plaintiffs alleging that America’s four largest beef packers conspired to suppress the price of cattle and increase the price of beef. NFU President Rob Larew states, “We are pleased the effort to restore pricing transparency and competitiveness to the cattle markets is moving forward in the courtroom.” The case now enters the discovery phase of the trial, where evidence and information will be presented to demonstrate how packers violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and the Commodity Exchange Act. The case alleges malfeasance, which is intentional conduct that is wrongful or unlawful, and calls for pricing transparency and competitiveness in cattle markets. Larew claims the conduct of meatpackers “has been very damaging to independent farmers and ranchers.” *********************************************************************************** American Bumblebees Could be Listed as Endangered The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week announced the American bumblebee, whose populations have plummeted by nearly 90 percent, may warrant Endangered Species Act protection. The announcement kicks off a one-year status assessment of the species. A Federal Register document published Wednesday follows a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and others. The Center says the species' decline has resulted from multiple concurrent threats, including habitat loss, pesticides, disease, climate change, and competition from non-native honeybees. The organization says Pesticide use, especially the widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides, reduces survival and harms reproduction as well as bumblebee immune systems. American bumblebees were first described before the United States won its independence and are known by their distinctive black-and-yellow color pattern. The Fish and Wildlife Service will now initiate a scientific status review and public comment period before making a final decision on whether to protect the bumblebee. *********************************************************************************** AEM Offers Tips to Stay Safe on the Road During Harvest Season The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has three tips to keep you safe on the road during harvest season. AEM’s Curt Blades says that all rural drivers should be aware, be predictable and be patient, this harvest season. And Blades adds that applies to everyone, saying, "we all need to recognize that everyone has to go down these same roads as safely as possible." A recent study from the University of Iowa Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health found that higher speed roads, and roads with limited visibility, such as narrow, hilly, or curvy roads, have a higher instance of traffic accidents between motor vehicles and farm equipment. Their study also found that 30 percent of these accidents occurred in urban zip-codes. Maximizing the safety of farmers in their equipment has also been a priority of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and that extends to keeping drivers on the road safe as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 30, 2021 |


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, a third estimate of U.S. GDP in the second quarter and the latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Traders will be watching the Energy Department's report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. At 11 a.m. CDT, USDA will release its quarterly Grain Stocks report and Small Grains Annual Summary. Weather A system slowly working through the Plains and into the western Midwest will bring some scattered showers on Thursday. This will cause some delays to the continued harvest and winter wheat planting. However, it will be highly beneficial for dry soils in the Central and Southern Plains and eliminate some areas of drought. Showers will be scattered though and some areas will be missed. Eastern crop areas should continue to see overall favorable weather conditions for harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 29, 2021 |


Lawmakers Urging Administration to Increase Biofuels Usage A group of Midwest lawmakers Tuesday urged the Biden administration to increase biofuels usage and reject any reduction in blending requirements. After recent reports that the administration may be considering lowering the Renewable Volume Obligations, the group raised serious concerns about the harm a reduction in biofuels usage could cause to the administration's clean energy goals and economic stability of the renewable fuels marketplace. The letter states, "We have strong reservations about the potential for the Administration to destroy over five billion gallons of biofuel volume from the 2020, 2021, and 2022 RVOs.” The effort is led by Democrats, including Representatives Cindy Axne of Iowa and Angie Craig of Minnesota, along with Senator Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. The letter followed similar comments from Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor states, “it is imperative to consider the vital role that environmentally sustainable fuel options such as ethanol will play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” *********************************************************************************** AFBF, NPPC File Prop. 12 Appeal to Supreme Court The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation this week petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take their case against California's Proposition 12. The California law would ban the sale of pork from hogs that don't meet the state's "arbitrary" production standards. The appeal to the high court comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in July upheld a lower court ruling against the NPPC-AFBF case. The appeals court found despite the organizations plausibly alleging that Prop. 12 "will have dramatic upstream effects and require pervasive changes to the pork industry nationwide," 9th Circuit precedent won't allow the case to continue. That precedent, however, runs counter to numerous Supreme Court decisions and conflicts with nearly every other federal circuit court. NPPC President Jen Sorenson states, “We're asking the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of one state imposing regulations that reach far outside its borders.” *********************************************************************************** Beyond Meat to Offer Chicken Imitator in Grocery Stores Beyond Meat this week announced it is debuting its Beyond Chicken Tenders at select retailers nationwide. In addition to the retail rollout of the plant-based chicken tenders, Beyond Meat is also increasing its retail product distribution of other Beyond Meat products at Walmart stores in which Beyond Meat products are currently sold, making this the third such expansion this year alone. The company promotes the Beyond Chicken Tenders as a product that contains no GMOs, antibiotics, hormones or cholesterol. The protein in Beyond Chicken Tenders is derived from the faba bean, a nutrient-packed legume crop. Its unique qualities, the company says, make it the optimal ingredient for replicating the taste and texture of traditional chicken tenders. The retail rollout of Beyond Chicken Tenders follows the foodservice launch earlier this summer. Beyond Chicken Tenders come pre-cooked, ready-to-heat in the air fryer, oven or microwave. Starting in October, shoppers can find Beyond Chicken Tenders in select grocery stores. *********************************************************************************** Gallagher Ends Tenure as DMI CEO Dairy checkoff program Dairy Management Inc. announced Tuesday that Tom Gallagher has decided to conclude his 30-year tenure as CEO to devote more time to teaching and other opportunities. Barbara O’Brien, President of DMI and CEO of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, has been named by the board of directors as the next CEO. The board leadership, Gallagher and O'Brien will work on a transition plan, and Gallagher has committed his support through the transition timeframe. O'Brien's knowledge and experience with the dairy industry provide a seamless transition and a steady continuation of the checkoff's value to dairy farmers. In her current role, O'Brien has instilled a sales growth and outcomes-based mentality within her leadership team and staff, overseeing operating structures for business development, domestic and international sales, science and insights, marketing communications and finance. O'Brien adds, "I will set a vision that harnesses the strong legacy Tom built and leads to new long-term growth." *********************************************************************************** Tillable, Compeer Financial Launch Online Loan Applications Tillable and Compeer Financial have partnered to launch an online loan application, enabling anyone to purchase or refinance farmland directly from a smartphone. Farmers, landowners and investors can now visit Tillable to shop for a farmland mortgage, refinance their current loans, or finance their cash rent. The all-digital lending application takes less than ten minutes to complete, and for the first time ever, qualified borrowers will learn if they are approved for the loan of their choice within seconds. The new service is currently available in selected counties in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Compeer Financial will underwrite and service all loans originated through the partnership. In the near-term, the companies hope to digitize the entire closing process for farm loans. The new financial offering coincides with Tillable's entrance into the real estate brokerage market. Tillable customers can now buy or sell farmland through the website. For additional information on both services, visit Tillable.com. *********************************************************************************** 2021 MILK Business Conference to Gather Dairy Industry Leaders in Las Vegas The MILK Business Conference is set for November 30 – December 2, 2021, at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. The event will offer educational and networking opportunities for dairy industry leaders, live and in person, and will take place before the start of the National Finals Rodeo. Farm Journal calls the event the only one that focuses exclusively on every business aspect of dairy operations. The MILK Business Conference agenda highlights include Five Mega Trends in 2022 and Beyond, How to Become the Employer of Choice, Turning Manure into Money, a firsthand and expert session on mental health, a traceability session on beef on dairy and more. Farm Journal’s Cliff Becker says, “We’ll have speakers and sessions that will help dairy producers put their strengths to work.” Becker teases the event, adding, “A dairy’s greatest asset in 2035 might not be their cows. Register and attend to find out what it will be.” Find additional information and registration at MilkBusinessConference.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 29, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. pending home sales in August is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly energy inventories at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. Traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of export sales. Investors will be keen to any news about a possible government shutdown. Weather A system emerging from the Rockies will produce scattered showers up and down the Plains on Wednesday while most other areas remain dry. Outside of the showers, temperatures will remain well above normal and areas that do not see any activity will have good harvest conditions for yet another day.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 28, 2021 |


House Infrastructure Vote Likely This Week It's a busy week in Washington, D.C., with a tight deadline for continuing resolutions and the U.S. debt ceiling, along with a planned infrastructure vote in the House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had promised an infrastructure vote by Monday, but told House members late last week the debate would begin early in the week, with a likely vote on Thursday. The infrastructure package passed the Senate in August, which will help fund road, bridge, water infrastructure and other projects. Pelosi told Reuters over the weekend, “We are now working together with the Senate and the White House on changes to this historic legislation.” Pelosi said she would not bring the infrastructure bill to a vote until she was sure it would pass, but expressed confidence about its prospects. Some House Democrats have threatened to vote against the bill, instead favoring the larger $3.5 trillion version of the bill. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing $75 million in Projects with Focus on Climate-Smart Ag The Department of Agriculture will invest nearly $75 million for 15 partner-led projects to address natural resource concerns on private lands. This year, projects funded by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program's Alternative Funding Arrangements focus on climate-smart agriculture and forestry and other conservation priorities and improve access for historically underserved producers. As part of this year's project selections, NRCS prioritized projects that supported smart strategies on working lands to help sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Several projects also had concrete plans for engaging producers from historically underserved communities. Announced Friday, the funded projects include the Climate Action and Reforestation in Northern Michigan, Enhancing Hawaii's Forests for Climate Resilience and South Dakota’s Expanding Soil Health Through Carbon Markets, among others. First authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program has leveraged partner contributions of more than $1 for every $1 invested by USDA. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Hog, Cattle on Feed Inventories Decline USDA last Friday released the monthly Cattle on Feed report and the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2021, was 75.4 million head, down four percent from 2020, but up one percent from June 2021. Breeding inventory, at 6.19 million head, was down two percent from last year, and down slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 69.2 million head, was down four percent from last year, but up one percent from last quarter. Meanwhile, the monthly Cattle on Feed report shows cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.2 million head on September 1, 2021. The inventory was one percent below September 1, 2020. This is the second-highest September 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. Placements in feedlots during August totaled 2.10 million head, two percent above 2020. *********************************************************************************** Grassley Running for Another Senate Term Long-time Iowa Senator Chuck Grassy, at 88 years old, will seek reelection in 2022. Grassley is the oldest Republican in the Senate, and if elected, his next term will end when he is 95. In announcing his decision, Grassley says, “Iowans have encouraged me to continue my work representing them.” Democrat Abby Finkenauer, a former U.S. Representative from Iowa, is in the race against Grassley. Finkenauer stated via Twitter that Grassley "spent 47 years with the DC elite, lining his own pockets," and is "just another DC politician who can’t let go of power and turned his back on families like mine.” Grassley’s campaign contends he has consistently been recognized as one of the most bipartisan and effective senators, according to independent analysis conducted by GovTrack and the Lugar Center at Georgetown University. Grassley currently serves as the Senate Finance Committee Chair, and holds a seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. *********************************************************************************** Restaurants Feeling Equipment Supply Chain Issues U.S. restaurants feeling supply chain issues for their food products are also contending with issues around upgrading kitchen equipment. Restaurant Business reports it can sometimes take months to get equipment in the door, thanks to a backlog of imports that has left two dozen or more container ships waiting outside of U.S. ports. Mark Rossi, CEO of Avanti Restaurant Solutions, told Restaurant Business that the supply chain challenges could be expected to persist until at least January 2023, or longer. The supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic stems from labor issues, including a lack of truck drivers and manufacturer's struggling to bring workers back. The lack of truck drivers creates backlogs of shipments at U.S. ports, as container ships are forced to wait longer to unload. The challenge for restaurant operators comes as they’re dealing with their own issues, including a labor shortage and trouble getting food supplies in the door. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Fuel Prices Mixed The nation's average gas price declined 0.7 cents per gallon from a week ago to $3.17 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average is up 3.8 cents from a month ago and $1.00 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 1.4 cents in the last week and stands at $3.31 per gallon. Relief in average prices has mostly shown up west of the Rockies thus far and may continue to be delayed by an active hurricane season. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan states, “While I am optimistic that we eventually will see a decline in price, the drop is not likely to be as noticeable as I had anticipated due to the above average hurricane season and as demand remains seasonally strong.” Crude oil prices are increasing on renewed concerns that oil supply is not keeping up with demand as the global economy continues to improve as the pandemic eases.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 28, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There is a report on U.S. consumer confidence for September due out at 9 a.m. CDT. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. Traders will continue to keep up with the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather Another day of well above normal temperatures and mostly dry conditions across the major growing areas of the country will provide good weather for harvest. Some isolated showers in Texas and the Pacific Northwest will be the only significant radar signatures today with showers starting to move into the Plains tonight.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 27, 2021 |


Reconciliation Bill Tackles Conservation and Farm Assistance The Hagstrom Report says the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill will contain language to address the court cases brought against a program to provide debt relief directed to minority farmers. Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow made that known after a committee business meeting last week. White farmers and many conservation groups have filed 13 lawsuits against the program, but the Biden administration hasn’t yet responded. Stabenow says, “We’re leading the way in helping farmers tackle the climate crisis with a historic investment of $28 billion, which is the largest investment in conservation since the Dust Bowl.” She also points out that American conservation programs are proven and popular with farmers, ranchers, and foresters. This will make a huge impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is equal to taking about 142 million cars off the road. The legislation would provide $5 billion for direct payments to producers who establish cover crops totaling $25 per acre for up to 1,000 acres through the fiscal year 2026. *********************************************************************************** Hurricane Ida Does More than $500 Million to Louisiana Agriculture Hurricane Ida did more than a half-billion dollars’ worth of damage to Louisiana agriculture. The LSU AgCenter says the Category 4 hurricane’s total damage to Louisiana’s agriculture industry is at least $584 million. Economist Kurt Guidry tells The Hill that about half the damage is to the timber industry, the top-grossing ag commodity in the Bayou State. Over 168,000 acres of timberland were affected by the hurricane’s winds, which caused an estimated $300 million in damage. The AgCenter report says along with the timber, 35 percent of the damage is estimated to be in infrastructure losses such as equipment. Other commodities like sugarcane, horticulture, and livestock were also affected by Ida. Sugarcane took a 35 million dollar hit, while horticulture also saw approximately $9.5 million in damages. Livestock losses are currently low, with only 22 recorded livestock deaths so far. The overall dollar amount in damage also includes estimates for future costs affecting production and reduced crop yields brought on by the storm. *********************************************************************************** USDA Will Establish an Equity Commission The USDA says it will establish an Equity Commission and is looking for nominations for membership on the Commission’s Advisory Committee and Subcommittee on Agriculture. “USDA is committed to advancing equity throughout the Department,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. The Equity Commission will advise the Ag Secretary by identifying USDA programs, policies, systems, structures, and practices that contribute to barriers to inclusion or access, systemic discrimination, or exacerbate racial, economic, health, and social disparities. The Ag Subcommittee will report back to the Equity Commission and provide recommendations on issues of concern that relate to agriculture. Additional subcommittees will focus on other policy areas, such as rural communities and economic development. The Equity Commission will deliver an interim report and provide actionable recommendations within a year of its formation. House Ag Chair David Scott says, “Today’s announcement will remedy inequalities in any program, policy, system, structure, or practices at USDA, and that’s a step in the right direction.” The Georgia Democrat says he’s thankful for the Ag Secretary’s efforts to address any wrongdoing at USDA. *********************************************************************************** NAFB Taking Applications for 2021 Social Media Corps The National Association of Farm Broadcasting is accepting applications from agricultural communications students for the 2021 NAFB Convention Social Media Corps. Students will cover the sessions, events, news, and awards at the 78th Annual NAFB Convention. The social media corps will fully participate in the convention scheduled for November 17-19 in Kansas City, Missouri. The group will take to NAFB’s digital platforms to share stories from the convention and the Trade Talk floor. Communicators will collect content, including photos, videos, and blog posts, and the Corps will guide the online conversation throughout the event. NAFB is looking for students planning to attend the convention, are passionate about social media and digital storytelling, and looking to learn, share, and grow in the social media space. Selected participants are responsible for their travel to and from the convention. NAFB will provide housing and convention registration. Participants are chosen through a competitive application process, with applications due by 5 p.m. central time on Friday, October 29. The three interns will be announced on November 3. *********************************************************************************** First-Ever Shipment of U.S. DDGS Arrives in Tunisia A combination of competitive freight prices and market-specific educational efforts from the U.S. Grains Council has led to the first-ever shipment of dried distiller’s grains with solubles arriving in Tunisia (too-KNEE-zhah). The shipment was delivered earlier this month and marked the opening of new opportunities for American growers and shippers to get products into the Mediterranean region. The USGC’s Middle East and Africa Office says the council’s strategy is focusing on marketing the U.S. advantage in Tunisia for corn and corn co-product imports. The feed industry in Tunisia is a mature market compared to other neighboring countries, and the Council’s efforts have focused on trade servicing and promoting these products. Bulk carrier rates on several key routes in the region are higher than previous record levels, which means some importers are looking at other options. This has boosted container rates in the U.S., with feed grain importers near the Mediterranean Sea and Arab Gulf opting to use containers rather than bulk shipments to reduce feed costs. The USGC’s regional office is actively supporting the country’s protein demand growth through promoting U.S. corn and its co-products, organizing events, and hosting industry stakeholders in the United States. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Ag Retailing Future Driven by Precision A new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange says the ag retailer of the future has an opportunity to earn more income from precision agronomy services and emerging sustainability management programs. Traditional crop input sales will continue to be a boon for retailers in the future. The report says the current strong financial returns that cooperatives and independent ag retailers are enjoying provide a timely opportunity to invest in new technologies. The goal would be to position themselves for success in a rapidly evolving marketplace. “The traditional approach for farm supply cooperatives is to save above-average profits when times are good and then manage costs during a downturn,” says Kenneth Zuckerberg, lead grain and farm supply economist for CoBank. “Unfortunately, this approach exposes cooperatives to revenue volatility and declining earnings during down cycles, which can often last five or more years.” Instead of relying on product commissions and rebates alone, Zuckerberg says farm supply cooperatives’ path forward is to expand their precision agronomy service offerings and capture more income from consultative service and software fees. “Putting technology and information to work to help farmers manage their inputs and production is where farm supply co-ops excel,” he says.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 27, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather forecasts and watch for any new developments out of China. A report on U.S. durable goods orders for August is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, followed by a possible export sale announcement at 8 a.m. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections will give a clue as to how river traffic is moving through Louisiana. USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. will report on row crop harvest progress and winter wheat planting. Weather A ridge of high pressure will keep most of the country hot and dry. This should promote harvest activities especially considering the rain in the forecast later this week. The Pacific Northwest should see some beneficial showers, but more are needed for winter wheat. Winter wheat in the Southern Plains will have difficulty under heat and moisture stress through Tuesday before beneficial showers return.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 24, 2021 |


USDA Takes Steps to Build More Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Food Systems The Department of Agriculture highlighted investments to end hunger and malnutrition at the United Nations Food Systems Summit this week. Speaking of the total $10 billion of investments, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack states, “We must use the power of ingenuity to improve on food systems so they provide safe, nutritious, affordable and accessible food for all." USDA also announced the formation of the Coalition of Action on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation. This global, multi-sector coalition will accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through agricultural productivity growth. To help ensure that every child has access to nutritious school meals by 2030, USDA is leading U.S. participation in the coalition on School Meals, which supports comprehensive and effective school feeding programs worldwide. The United States, led by USDA, is also supporting the global Food is Never Waste Coalition, and reaffirming its commitment to reducing food loss and waste domestically. *********************************************************************************** Industry Responds to Coalition Announced at UN Summit Agriculture and food industry groups welcome the formation of the Coalition of Action on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation. The North American Meat Institute announced that it will join the effort. The Meat Institute expects to announce in November ambitious, data-driven targets to publicly verify progress on the 100 metrics in its sustainability framework. NAMI President and CEO Julie Anna Potts commented, "our commitments to economic, social, and environmental sustainability place us at the center of solutions for a healthy future." The National Milk Producers Federation, in a statement, commented, "We're ready to do the work needed to advance the pragmatic, forward-looking approach the U.S. has charted throughout the summit's process." American Feed Industry Association President and CEO Constance Cullman commended U.S. leaders at the summit, saying, “They signaled to the world that the U.S. does not intend to turn the clock back on scientific progress, but instead, advocate for modern technologies and practices.” *********************************************************************************** Senate Ag Advances USDA Natural Resources and Environment Nominee The Senate Agriculture Committee Thursday advanced the nomination of Dr. Homer L. Wilkes to be USDA’s undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment. Wilkes currently serves as Director of the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Team. He served as acting associate chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service between 2010 and 2012 and has over 40 years of public service experience. Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, states, "Wilkes is a dedicated public servant and strong bipartisan choice to lead USDA's efforts to restore and protect the health of our public forests and grasslands." Stabenow also noted The Natural Resources and Environment mission area is at the forefront of tackling the climate crisis. Ranking Member John Boozman, an Arkansas Republican, adds, “Wilkes will bring the same qualities and characteristics demonstrated during his long tenure at NRCS to his role as undersecretary, which is exactly what is needed in that role.” *********************************************************************************** ERS: Interest in Antibiotic-free Chicken Increasing The Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service this week released a report titled "The Market for Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics, 2012–17." The report studies consumer attitudes for chicken raised without antibiotics and their purchases of the products. The analysis grouped chicken products into three distinct market segments: classic, processed, and sausage. Between 2012 and 2017, household expenditure shares for antibiotic-free products grew substantially within each of the three market segments. In 2012, the products only represented four percent of the classic market, one percent of the processed market, and seven percent of the sausage market. By 2017, the products represented 11, nine, and 18 percent of the markets, respectively. Between 2012 and 2017, antibiotic-free products also commanded higher prices per pound than conventional chicken products. For classic, processed, and sausage chicken products, antibiotic-free products had prices that were on average 87, 55, and 48 percent greater than conventional products. *********************************************************************************** NFU Announces Campaign to Fight Monopolies in Agriculture National Farmers Union this week announced the Fairness for Farmers campaign as members gathered for a virtual fly-in. The effort seeks to rally Americans to urge lawmakers and the Biden administration to take concrete steps to curtail consolidation in agriculture, which NFU says negatively impacts farmers, ranchers and consumers. NFU President Rob Larew states, “We launched Fairness for Farmers because we have a President who is committed to taking on the challenge of fighting consolidation in agriculture.” The campaign seeks to encourage farmers and ranchers to share their stories online, engage with media, and build support for lawmakers and regulators to strengthen pro-competition laws and regulations. Through the campaign, NFU is calling for Packers and Stockyard Act reform, improved price discovery in beef markets, and reinvigorated antitrust enforcement. Larew added, “I do believe we are in for a fight,” but continues, NFU members are “not afraid of a fight and are ready to stand up for fairness.” *********************************************************************************** NASDA Elects New York’s Richard Ball as President The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture elected New York Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball as President this week. Ball will serve as NASDA's 2021-2022 President and will host the 2022 NASDA Annual Meeting. The election was part of the conclusion of the organization’s annual meeting this week in Kentucky. Commissioner Ball states, “I am honored to be elected NASDA's new president and to lead as our states work together to ensure that agriculture continues to grow and thrive.” Also elected to NASDA's Board of Directors were Wyoming Director of Agriculture Doug Miyamoto as Vice President, Indiana Director of Agriculture Bruce Kettler as Second Vice President, and Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward as Secretary-Treasurer. Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles will serve as NASDA's Past President, and Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur will serve in the At-Large position. District board members include Pennsylvania’s Russell Redding, West Virginia’s Kent Leonhardt, Illinois’ Jerry Costello, and Washington’s Derek Sandinson.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 24, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets As usual, traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts and watching for a possible export sale announcement at 8 a.m. CDT. A report on U.S. new homes sales in August is due out at 9 a.m. At 2 p.m. CDT, USDA releases a quarterly Hogs and Pigs report and a monthly Cattle On-Feed report. Weather A cold front will bring some isolated showers to northern areas of the country Friday with mild and dry conditions across the rest of the country's growing regions. Despite the showers, harvest conditions should still be good for most of the country, though the eastern Midwest may need several days to dry out from this week's heavy rainfall

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 23, 2021 |


Report: EPA Proposing Cuts to Biofuel Blending Requirements A new report from Reuters claims the Environmental Protection Agency will propose cuts to blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard. A document seen by Reuters reporters contained proposed cuts that would reduce blending mandates for 2020 to about 17.1 billion gallons and 18.6 billion gallons for 2021. Those levels are significantly lower than the 20.1 billion gallons finalized for 2020 before the pandemic. EPA is setting the 2020 and 2021 mandates retroactively and would set 2022 at about 20.8 billion gallons. Reuters suspects ethanol would take the biggest hit, dropping from 15 billion gallons to about 12.5 billion gallons in 2020, 13.5 billion in 2021, and 14.1 in 2022. However, the proposals, sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget last month, are not final. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa told reporters Tuesday he expects EPA to release the proposal at the end of this week, possibly late Friday. *********************************************************************************** USDA Statement on ASF in Haiti The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service calls the discovery of African swine fever in Haiti unfortunate, but not unexpected. Monday, a case of ASF was reported to the World Organization for Animal Health after confirmed by USDA's Plum Island, New York, facility. The sample was collected from a pig in a province bordering the Dominican Republic, where ASF was discovered this summer. In a statement, APHIS said it has numerous interlocking safeguards in place to prevent ASF from entering the United States. Pork and pork products from Haiti and the Dominican Republic are prohibited entry to the United States because of existing classical swine fever restrictions. After ASF was detected in the Dominican Republic, APHIS increased surveillance and safeguards in U.S. territories. APHIS continues to work with partners, including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. swine industry, to prevent ASF from entering the United States. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Host Virtual Data Users’ Meeting The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will hold its biannual Data Users’ Meeting virtually next month. The Data Users’ Meeting is held to share recent and pending statistical program changes with the public and to solicit input on the programs. The event is organized by NASS in cooperation with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, Farm Service Agency, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service and U.S. Census Bureau. Agricultural Statistics Board Chair Joe Parsons states, “This is an excellent opportunity for data users to be informed and involved in guiding the agricultural information USDA produces, both now and into the future.” The October 13 agenda includes agency updates followed by breakout sessions for participants to choose from one or more in-depth topics. On October 14, the floor will open to participants for questions and comments, and the event will close with additional breakout sessions. You can register online. *********************************************************************************** USSEC Announces Global Aquaculture Industry Advisory Council The U.S. Soybean Export Council Wednesday announced the convening of the Global Aquaculture Industry Advisory Council. The council includes fresh multistakeholder representation from 11 academia, civil society, industry, public sector, and sustainability certification organizations around the world. USSEC says the council reaffirms U.S. Soy farmers and the industry's commitment to shaping a growing and sustainable aquaculture industry. Approximately 3.3 billion people rely on seafood for almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of protein, making it the world's largest traded food commodity. The amount of seafood produced by aquaculture now exceeds wild catch. Total fish production is expected to expand from 179 million metric tons in 2018 to 204 million metric tons in 2030. Aquaculture consumption increased 122 percent from 1990 to 2018, and production is projected to reach 109 million tons in 2030. The USSEC Global Aquaculture Industry Advisory Council will meet at least twice a year, with the first meeting September 2021 virtually. *********************************************************************************** DeLauro introduces Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro this week introduced the Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act. The Connecticut Democrat says the legislation will increase and improve the Department of Agriculture’s procurement of fresh fruits and vegetables. The bill would require USDA to partner with growers, distributors, and food hubs to provide fresh, U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables to community organizations like schools, food pantries, and youth organizations while prioritizing socially disadvantaged farmers and entities and regional food inequities. The United Fresh Produce Association welcomed the legislation. United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel states, “This is a monumental step in the right direction in addressing nutrition insecurity and access for the nine out of ten Americans who struggle to meet Dietary Guidelines’ fruit and vegetable recommendations.” Late last year, United Fresh convened a working group to embark on a months-long project of providing recommendations on how to reform purchasing practices to be more inclusive of fresh produce. *********************************************************************************** Bayer to Launch Organic Vegetable Seeds Portfolio Bayer this week announced it will expand its vegetable seeds offerings under the Bayer umbrella to include organically produced seed. The launch will focus on certified organic production in three key crops for the greenhouse and glasshouse market, including tomato, sweet pepper and cucumber. These will be followed by tomato rootstock varieties in 2023. Bayer's expanded portfolio is in direct response to increased customer need for high-quality organic seed. Global consumer demand for certified-organic products continues to grow and is predicted to drive market expansion. The global organic food seeds market was valued at 355 million in 2020 and is expected to grow to $480 million by 2025. The commercial launch for the new certified organic portfolio is planned for early 2022 and will focus on the high-growth organic markets of Canada, United States, Mexico, Spain and Italy with potential for future expansion based on market demand. Learn more at vegetables.bayer.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 23, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The index of U.S. leading indicators for August is set for 9 a.m., followed by the Department of Energy's natural gas storage report at 9:30 a.m. Natural gas has more attention these days, now that U.S. supplies are down from a year ago, heading into winter. Weather As a system continues to wrap up over the Great Lakes, isolated showers will continue around Michigan, but with some streaks of moderate rain. Dry and mild conditions are in place for the rest of the country's growing regions, benefiting harvest and allowing soils to drain that saw moderate to heavy rainfall this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 22, 2021 |


African Swine Fever Confirmed in Haiti The World Organization for Animal Health this week confirmed finding African swine fever in Haiti. Haiti borders the Dominican Republic, which confirmed the virus was in-country this summer. The farm in Haiti with confirmed African swine fever is near the border. Haiti is conducting surveillance for the disease in pigs and imposed a quarantine to control the outbreak, according to Reuters. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found the disease last week through testing at the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on Plum Island, New York. USDA confirmed ASF in the Dominican Republic in July and issued a warning that Haiti was at high risk for infections. Meanwhile, last week, USDA issued a Federal Order suspending interstate movement of all live swine and swine products from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland United States. African swine fever poses no health risks to humans but is deadly in pigs. *********************************************************************************** USDA, HHS Launch Resource Guide to Increase Rural Access to Child Care The Department of Agriculture and the Health and Human Services Department Tuesday unveiled a joint resource guide to help people in rural and Tribal communities increase access to childcare services. The guide was developed in partnership by USDA Rural Development and the Office of Early Childhood Development in HHS’ Administration for Children and Families. It provides useful information to help stakeholders in rural communities, including Tribes and Tribal organizations, address the need for improved access to affordable, high-quality childcare and early learning facilities through USDA and HHS funding and technical assistance resources. USDA Rural Development undersecretary Justin Maxson states that access to quality and affordable healthcare “enables parents to work, strengthens the economy and supports children’s overall development by laying the groundwork for future success in school and life.” The joint resource guide follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement of the American Families, targeting investments to support America's children and families. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Urges President Biden to Uphold Clean Energy Commitments Growth Energy members call on President Joe Biden to stand behind his promise to take clear action on climate change by supporting low-carbon biofuels and upholding the Renewable Fuel Standard. During a virtual fly-in this week, 87 Growth Energy members sent a letter to President Biden outlining their take on the issue. The letter states, “If we are to achieve net-zero by 2050, we must use all tools in the toolbox – including biofuels.” The Growth Energy members point out that fuels like ethanol reduce carbon emissions by 46 percent over their full lifecycle. As for the Renewable Fuel Standard, the group says fossil fuel advocates continue to demand that EPA adopt Renewable Volume Obligations that fall far short of the President’s commitment to uphold the RFS. To help reduce carbon emissions and reach Biden's transportation decarbonization goals, the letter adds, "it is vital that conventional biofuel blending targets meet the15-billion-gallon minimum required by law." *********************************************************************************** Study Shows Ag Retailers Thoughts on Carbon Markets A new survey by Axiom Marketing shows the participation levels and interest in Carbon Markets from ag retailers, a top source of information for farmers. The research from the Minneapolis-based firm found that 70 percent of retailers do not understand how to verify carbon to participate in the carbon markets. Of the retailers surveyed, 50 percent say they are unsure if they will participate, with only eight percent saying the current incentive levels are enough to gain grower interest. The majority of retailers surveyed manage their grower's digital data and promote sustainable activities. This fact should make them an ideal conduit to help growers monetize carbon credits, according to Axiom. However, only 29 percent are actively participating and monetizing carbon. Axiom's survey also found that carbon credits may need to be higher to gain greater appeal. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they think farmers will require more than $10 per acre. *********************************************************************************** USTR Tai Meets with United Kingdom on Trade United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai this week met virtually with United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan (tre-vely-an). Ambassador Tai emphasized her commitment to deepening bilateral trade and investment ties between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The USTR office says Tai discussed USTR’s ongoing review of the U.S. – U.K. free trade agreement negotiations to evaluate how a potential agreement could support the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader Build Back Better agenda. Ambassador Tai and Trevelyan discussed the upcoming G7 trade ministerial. Back in March, the Biden Administration suspended some tariffs on goods from the United Kingdom. No longer a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom said in December that it will suspend tariffs on the U.S. tied to the World Trade Organization ruling against Boeing Airline subsidies. It was a move that trade experts say was a sign that the British government is hoping to resume negotiations with the United States. *********************************************************************************** Positive Outlook for Real Christmas Trees in 2021 Christmas tree growers are overcoming logistical challenges of COVID-19 and a heatwave in the Pacific Northwest to provide enough trees for 2021 demand. After close evaluation and making tree-by-tree decisions, growers expect to supply the same overall number of real Christmas trees to the marketplace this season as they had planned before the crises hit. With just about eight weeks to go until the real Christmas tree shopping season hits, industry experts are confident there will be a real Christmas tree for everyone who wants one this year. Oregon-based Christmas tree producer Bob Schaefer says, “We didn't run out of trees last year. Or in 2019. Or the year before that. In fact, we never have, and we don't intend to this year." With the artificial market hit hard by supply-chain disruption this year, and the real Christmas tree market returned to optimism, it's an especially relevant season for newcomers to natural trees.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 22, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. existing home sales for August is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. The Federal Reserve's two-day meeting concludes at 1 p.m. with an announcement of any agreed policy changes. USDA's monthly cold storage report is set for 2 p.m. CDT. Weather A front will continue to bring moderate to locally heavy rain across the eastern growing areas Wednesday and there could be some flooding, which would cause some quality issues and delays for harvest. Much better conditions have developed west of this system for harvest, but more rain is needed for winter wheat in the Plains and Pacific Northwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 21, 2021 |


“No” to Immigration Reform – Ag Labor in Limbo? Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled against the Democrats’ plan to provide eight million green cards as a part of their $3.5 trillion spending bill. The Hill says that decision makes getting immigration reform to President Biden’s desk that much harder. MacDonough’s guidance all but closes the door on Democrats’ chances to be able to use the spending bill as a potential pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. Democrats had wanted to provide those green cards for four groups of immigrants, including “Dreamers,” temporary protected status holders, agricultural workers, and essential workers. Getting legal permanent status allows people to eventually apply for permanent citizenship if they can meet other qualifications. Because Democrats are using reconciliation to pass a spending bill without GOP support, there are strict requirements regarding what can and can’t be included in the legislation. Democrats initially said they would keep trying to sway the Senate’s “referee” until the $3.5 trillion spending bill was on the Senate floor. Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said his party would take an alternative proposal to MacDonough. Republicans argued before MacDonough that immigration reform was outside the scope of what could get passed under reconciliation. *********************************************************************************** BLM Headquarters Returning to Washington, D.C. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says the leadership of the Bureau of Land Management will be moving back to Washington, D.C., from Grand Junction, Colorado. The Hagstrom Report says the Trump Administration had previously moved the office out west. “The bureau must have the appropriate structure and resources to serve the American public,” she says. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council condemned the decision. Kaitlynn Glover, NCBA Executive Director of Natural Resources and the Executive Director of the PLC says that more than 5.5 million acres have burned in catastrophic wildfires this year. “From Arizona to Minnesota, 14 states are going through an extreme drought that’s thrown rural communities into crisis,” she says. “In a normal season, this would be a disappointing decision, but in the middle of immense threats to public lands, ecosystems, wildlife, businesses, and residents, this is dangerously irresponsible.” Glover also says BLM’s operations did suffer as a result of their move, but “playing political football” with their mailing address is something western communities can’t afford. “Implementing another move now is a bad idea when the BLM staff’s time and attention are needed more than ever,” Glover says. *********************************************************************************** Taiwan Threatens to Take China Before the WTO Over the weekend, Taiwan threatened to take China before the World Trade Organization after Beijing suspended sugar apple and wax apple imports from the island nation due to pest concerns. Reuters says it’s the latest flare-up between the two countries over fruit. China’s customs administration has said more than once that it’s detected pests in the sugar apples and wax apples. The administration asked all of its offices to begin stopping customs clearance for those items starting on Monday. Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture Minister says China made the decision “unilaterally” without providing any scientific evidence to support the move. Taiwan told China it will take the country through the WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism if Beijing doesn’t respond to Taiwan’s request to settle the issue under the existing bilateral agreement between the two before September 30. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu took it a step further on Twitter, noting that China was now “weaponizing trade” and the move should cast doubt over its recent application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade group. Relations between the Taiwan and China are at their lowest point in years. *********************************************************************************** Federal Order Issued for ASF Protection Zone The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is issuing a federal order suspending the movement of all pork and pork products from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico into the U.S. Shipments of live swine, swine germplasm, swine products, and swine byproducts are halted until APHIS can establish sufficient mitigations to authorize such movement. The federal order is the final action in a series of safeguards needed to establish an African Swine Fever protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. When the zone is established, APHIS will have processes in place in both countries to prohibit the movement of live swine and products out of the protection zone, conduct appropriate surveillance within the protection zone to quickly detect any introduction of the disease, and conduct a public education campaign relating to biosecurity on farms and other establishments. APHIS will soon detail the actions taken to create the protection zone in a report to the World Organization for Animal Health. Once the report is submitted, APHIS will work to confirm that individual countries recognize and accept the zones, which will help ensure the continued flow of U.S. pork and live swine exports. *********************************************************************************** Nominations Open for the Rural Spirit Awards Osborn Barr Paramore is accepting nominations for the fourth annual Rural Spirit Awards. The awards are given out to recognize unsung heroes of rural America who “instill hope, solve problems, and commit to stepping up to meet the needs of their communities” as the country faces ongoing challenges related to COVID-19. OBP is looking to celebrate people who support and improve rural America through community service and economic development. Three award winners will be named in three categories. The Community Service Award honors an individual who exhibits the rural spirit through exceptional service in the name of community growth. The Next Gen Award Recognizes an individual 21 and under. Any potential Next Gen Award winner demonstrates uncommon leadership through community service efforts or innovative thinking. The Rural Advocacy Award celebrates a person who proudly embodies the heart of rural America, working hard to spur economic development, creating jobs, or advocating for growth. The public can go to www.RuralSpiritAwards.com and nominate deserving individuals. The nomination period closes October 11 at 11:59 p.m., CDT. Winners each receive $2,000 to donate to a nonprofit organization of their choice, with donations made in the winner’s name. Winners will be announced and recognized at an awards celebration on Thursday, October 21. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Looking for Research Projects on Aflatoxin That National Corn Growers Association announced a new round of research grants to help farmers manage aflatoxin issues. The Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence (AMCOE) is accepting letters of intent from principal investigators, co-principal investigators, and collaborators. There’s a limit of $75,000 per year and applications will be accepted through October 15. AMCOE’s Research Program will offer grants for projects focused on solving profit-robbing aflatoxin issues for farmers. The grants will be awarded to researchers focusing on one of six priority areas. “Through the efforts of AMCOE, substantial progress has been made in understanding and managing aflatoxin and other mycotoxins,” says Charles Ring, a Texas corn grower and AMCOE Committee Chair. “NCGA administers AMCOE to create a united approach to aflatoxin research, with the primary goal to deliver advanced strategies, tools, and results to growers.” While corn farmers in Southern states experience aflatoxin challenges annually, these challenges may present themselves in any corn region of the U.S. when the crop comes under stress. NCGA points out that the benefits of this research are national in scope. For more information about AMCOE, go to ncga.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 21, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. housing starts is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday and is the only significant report of the day. Traders will be influenced by Monday afternoon's Crop Progress report and the latest weather forecasts. Soybean export sales have been active lately and traders will watch for a possible announcement from USDA at 8 a.m. Weather A front combined with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will lead to wet conditions from the Great Lakes down to the Gulf of Mexico while drier conditions build in behind the front through the Plains. Rain could be heavy in spots, leading to quality issues and delays for maturation and harvest while conditions improve to the west.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 20, 2021 |


House Democrats Ask Leadership for Extra Funds to Prevent ASF A group of House Democrats sent a letter to leadership asking for $75 million in funding for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to help prevent and prepare for a possible African Swine Fever Outbreak in the U.S. A total of seven House Democrats are concerned about an ASF outbreak in America’s swine herds. They’re asking House Leadership to include the requested funds in the next continuing resolution or supplemental appropriations package that moves through Congress. “A confirmed ASF positive sample in any U.S. state or territory would be devastating to the American pork industry and rural economy,” they wrote in the letter. “An outbreak in any part of the U.S. would restrict pork producers from being able to participate in global trade.” The representatives also point out that America’s pork producers are a crucial part of the domestic food supply chain and contribute close to seven billion dollars in global exports, which makes the additional investment in APHIS vital to the safety of America’s food supply. In July, APHIS confirmed the presence of ASF in samples collected from hogs in the Dominican Republic, raising concerns about a possible outbreak that could reach the United States. *********************************************************************************** Barge Shipping Costs Spiking After Hurricane Ida Barge freight costs for moving grains from the Midwest rose sharply due to the continuing logistical problems over two weeks after Hurricane Ida hit the Delta Region. As grain handlers are scrambling to get operations going again at the Gulf of Mexico, China booked four to six bulk cargoes of soybeans from Brazil for shipping in October and November, which is the peak of the U.S. export period. That agreement between China and Brazil is fueling industry concerns that terminal capacity at the Gulf will be limited into the next month. Cash grain traders tell Reuters that Gulf shipping problems are causing the cost for barge freight to rise along Midwest rivers. Unloading barges arriving at the Gulf is being delayed, which is creating a shortage of empty barges needed upriver as corn and soybean harvest revs up in the Midwest. Adding to the sense of urgency is the fact that crops are maturing faster than normal in key states like Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. Southern states are also much farther along in their harvest than northern states. “You have these southern states, and you need to get all of that through the system before the really big volume comes from places like Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa,” says Mike Steenhoek (STEEN-hook), Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. *********************************************************************************** NBB Renews Request to Meet with EPA Administrator Regan The National Biodiesel Board delivered a letter to Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, that renewed a May 2021 request to meet with him. The NBB wants to discuss the findings from a new study called “Assessment of Health Benefits from Using Biodiesel as a Transportation Fuel.” The group points out that the study quantifies, at a community level, the public health benefits and resulting economic savings of using higher blends of biodiesel. The findings complement those of a new EPA Report that details the unequal impacts of carbon and associated emissions on socially disadvantaged communities. “We believe that our industry’s goals are consistent with your agency’s plans to address carbon and focus on environmental health,” says Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs. “Replacing petroleum with drop-in alternatives like biodiesel and renewable diesel will immediately reduce carbon. Also, biodiesel and renewable diesel reduce particulate matter and hydrocarbon emissions that contribute to cancer, lung, and heart disease rates.” The NBB study shows that switching from petroleum to 100 percent biodiesel in transportation could annually bring the communities studied fewer asthma attacks and other lung problems, lost workdays, and premature deaths as well as a reduction in cancer risk. “The EPA report doesn’t really discuss solutions,” Kovarik adds, “which we can provide.” *********************************************************************************** McKinney Named New CEO of NASDA The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture announced that Ted McKinney is the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer. The group says he will lead NASDA in amplifying the voice of state departments of agriculture in Washington, D.C., seeking policy solutions for our food system, and expanding and deepening NASDA’s partnerships. “Representing a unified voice from all 50 states and four territories, NASDA is a leader and a problem solver on our nation’s most important agricultural issues,” McKinney says. “I’m honored to get chosen for the position, and I’m delighted to continue serving our country through advocating for state departments of agriculture. Moving forward, I’m excited to set new horizons for NASDA and ensure that agriculture thrives in our states and territories.” McKinney most recently was the USDA’s Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. He led the development and implementation of the department’s trade policy, facilitated foreign market access, and promoted opportunities for U.S. agriculture. “Mr. McKinney’s exceptional background reflects the spirit of NASDA’s ambition to unite state, federal, and industry leaders around the best solutions for farmers, ranchers, and communities they serve,” says Ryan Quarles, President of NASDA. “His advocacy experience will bring strength to NASDA’s federal partnerships.” *********************************************************************************** Wheat Export Sales Jump to a Marketing-Year High Export sales of wheat rose week-to-week, while corn and soybean sales in the first full week of the 2021-2022 marketing year were impressive. The USDA says wheat sales to overseas buyers totaled 617,000 metric tons, a marketing-year high point, in the seven days ending on September 9. That’s 59 percent higher than the previous week and well above the prior five-year average. Nigeria bought almost 329,000 metric tons, followed by Mexico, South Korea, and Taiwan. Exports for the week hit 514,100 metric tons, 32 percent above the previous week. Corn sales in the first full week of the marketing year totaled over 246,000 metric tons. Mexico was the largest buyer at 154,300 metric tons, with exports of corn for the week totaling 192,000 tons. Soybean sales to offshore buyers totaled 1.26 million metric tons. China bought just over 945,000 metric tons, the top total for the week. Soybean weekly exports were 244,400 metric tons. *********************************************************************************** #FarmON Concert to Support National FFA Foundation The Farm Journal’s #FarmON Benefit Concert on Monday night, September 20, will feature some of today’s top country music voices. At the same time, viewers who tune in can also show their support for the FFA and the work they do to develop future leaders in agriculture. Donations from the benefit concert will go to the National FFA Foundation. The hour-long concert is headlined by Easton Corbin, a three-time American Country Music Award winner. Alex Miller, who competed on American Idol season 19, will also perform. Both musicians are FFA alumni. “We are excited to provide this unique concert experience as a thank you to farmers, ranchers, and everyone who keeps our food system moving forward,” says Charlene Finck, president of Farm Journal. “What’s even more exciting is this concert features performers who have direct ties to FFA, which makes it personal to them as they team with us to support the National FFA Foundation.” The #FarmON Benefit Concert is free to all viewers and will start on Monday, September 20, at 7 p.m. Central Time. It will get shown on RFD-TV and live-streamed at www.AgWeb.com. Register for the concert for free or donate to the National FFA foundation at www.FarmJournalFieldDays.com/Register.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 20, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be comparing notes on early harvest anecdotes, checking the latest weather forecasts and will also watch for any news of export sales. USDA's weekly grain inspections report is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. USDA will post its first estimate of soybean harvest progress, along with a second report on the corn harvest. Weather A frontal boundary moving through the Corn Belt will produce some areas of moderate rainfall and gusty winds on Monday. Tropical moisture continues across the Southeast while moisture is pulled northward over the eastern Midwest as well. The showers will bring delays to maturing crops and harvest. The rain will mostly miss the southwestern Plains, which are in need of more moisture for winter wheat establishment, but it is turning drier behind this system.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 17, 2021 |


USDA Extends Deadline to Apply for Pandemic Assistance to Livestock Producers The Department of Agriculture is providing additional time for livestock and poultry producers to apply for the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program, or PLIP. Producers who suffered losses during the pandemic due to insufficient access to processing may now apply for assistance for those losses and the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animals through October 12, 2021, rather than the original deadline of September 17, 2021. PLIP is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shah-no) states, “We want to ensure that all eligible producers have the opportunity to apply for this critical assistance.” PLIP provides payments to producers for losses of livestock or poultry depopulated from March 1, 2020, through December 26, 2020, due to insufficient processing access as a result of the pandemic. Payments are based on 80 percent of the fair market value of the livestock and poultry and for the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animal. Eligible livestock and poultry include swine, chickens and turkeys. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Dairy Industry Advances Solutions to Deliver a More Sustainable and Secure Food System The U.S. dairy community is reaffirming its commitment to be part of the climate solution, pledging to address its total greenhouse gas footprint. The industry is also setting goals to achieve carbon neutrality, optimize water use and improve water quality by 2050. In addition, U.S. dairy is strengthening equitable access to nutritious dairy foods worldwide while ensuring animal and employee welfare through a transparent production system. Ahead of the Food Systems Summit, the UN solicited "game-changing" ideas, initiatives and innovations that can bring about positive change. The U.S. dairy industry responded with three solutions announced in a news release Thursday. The goals include the U.S. Dairy Net Zero initiative, The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management Program and School Nutrition and Food Bank Partnerships. Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy chairman Mike Haddad (hah-dad) states, “As food systems transformation takes center stage, the U.S. dairy sector is undergoing a transformation of its own.” *********************************************************************************** Cryan Joining AFBF as Chief Economist The American Farm Bureau Federation Announced Thursday Dr. Roger Cryan (Cryin’) will join the organization as chief economist next month. Cryan joins Farm Bureau after serving as director of the Department of Agriculture’s Economics division for the Agricultural Marketing Service for nine years. He previously served as Vice President for Milk Marketing and Economics at the National Milk Producers Federation. At NMPF, Cryan developed and successfully led efforts to change federal milk pricing and marketing regulations, and served as an appointed member of the USDA Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics. Earlier in his career, Dr. Cryan served as an economist for the Federal Milk Market Administrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Farm Bureau says he has earned several awards, including the prestigious Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis, presented by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, for his work developing the dairy payment provisions in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program in 2020. *********************************************************************************** Latest Drought Monitor Shows Dryness Extending in the Midwest The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows short-term dryness expanding in the Midwest as the Western U.S. deals with a prolonged, severe drought. The Midwest dryness favors summer crop maturation fieldwork, including harvest efforts and winter wheat planting, but is reducing topsoil moisture. Meanwhile, long-term drought issues persist across the upper Midwest, despite some recent rainfall. The Department of Agriculture also reported that topsoil moisture was at least one-third very short to short in each Midwestern State except Wisconsin. Short-term dryness and drought has become more apparent in recent weeks across the southern section of the High Plains, including parts of Kansas and Colorado. Above-normal temperatures largely offset any benefit from patchy rainfall across northern California and the interior Northwest. Meanwhile, USDA reported that at least one-half of the acreage devoted to rangeland and pastures was rated in very poor to poor condition in eight of the 11 Western States. *********************************************************************************** AEM Welcomes Precision Agriculture Loan Act Farm state Senators this week introduced the Precision Agriculture Loan Act. Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar say their bipartisan legislation would create a program within the Department of Agriculture to provide loan financing to farmers and ranchers interested in purchasing precision agriculture equipment. Precision agriculture is defined as a wide range of new technologies in farming and ranching that can allow producers to reduce their environmental footprint, lower costs, and improve productivity. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers applauded the legislation Thursday. AEM President Dennis Slater states the legislation “will give U.S. farmers a whole new set of tools to help achieve climate goals while continuing to feed and fuel the world.” AEM’s own research shows that increased adoption of precision agriculture technology in the crop farming industry can have a significant environmental and economic impact for farmers. Senator Fischer adds the bill “will allow more producers to invest in the equipment they need to make their operations more efficient, environmentally-friendly, and productive.” *********************************************************************************** Cargill Introduced Regenerative Ag Revenue Stream for Farmers One year ago, Cargill committed to advance regenerative agriculture practices across ten million acres of land in North America by 2030. Cargill has been enrolling farmers in Cargill RegenConnect, a new regenerative agriculture program that pays farmers for improved soil health and positive environmental outcomes, including payment per metric ton of carbon sequestered. The new program connects farmers to the growing carbon marketplace and will help scale the voluntary adoption of regenerative agriculture practices. Farmers enrolled in Cargill RegenConnect will implement regenerative agriculture practices of their choice beginning this fall into the next planting season. Practices that will qualify include cover crops and reduced- or no-tillage. In a study of 100 farmers across nine states conducted by The Soil Health Institute and supported by Cargill, researchers found that soil health management systems increased incomes for 85 percent of farmers growing corn and 88 percent of farmers growing soybeans. Additional details regarding Cargill's full suite of farmer programs can be found at CargillAg.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 17, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Friday and is the only official report of the day. Traders will do their usual thing of checking out the latest weather forecasts and pausing at 8 a.m. to see if USDA has another export sale to report. Weather Showers continue in association with the remnants of Nicholas across the Delta and Southeast, producing some locally heavy rainfall that could damage cotton and soybeans. Showers across the Central Plains into the Midwest will continue to wane this morning and be less severe along a front later today.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 16, 2021 |


Kansas City Southern Accepts Canadian Pacific Merger Agreement Kansas City Southern Wednesday announced the termination of a merger agreement with Canadian National Railway. KCS has entered a merger agreement with Canadian Pacific Railway, presumably ending the bidding war for KCS. Kansas City Southern determined the proposal from Canadian Pacific continues to demonstrate a “Company Superior Proposal” under the pending agreement with Canadian National. Upon closing of Canadian Pacific’s voting trust, each share of KCS common stock will be exchanged for $90 in cash and 2.8 shares of CP common stock. Closing will be subject to approval by the stockholders of Canadian Pacific and KCS and regulatory approvals. In connection with the termination of the Canadian National merger agreement, KCS is paying CN a breakup fee of $700 million. Kansas City Southern will also return an additional $700 million Canadian National paid to KCS. Kansas City Southern will schedule a new Special Meeting of Stockholders for KCS stockholders to vote on the CP merger agreement. *********************************************************************************** NCC Releases Inaugural Sustainability Report The National Chicken Council Wednesday released its inaugural sustainability report. The report provides a comprehensive overview of U.S. chickens raised for meat, known as “broilers,” and the industry’s collective progress in its environmental, broiler welfare and social impact journey, as well as efforts to build a more sustainable food system. The 2020 U.S. Broiler Chicken Industry Sustainability Report was submitted to the Scientific Group of the U.N. Food Systems Summit 2021, ahead of the U.N. Food Systems Summit later this month. NCC's report addresses six essential industry topics, including air, land and water, broiler health and welfare, employee safety and well-being, food and consumer safety, community support and security, employee safety and well-being. The report finds that between 2010 and 2020, land use decreased 13 percent, greenhouse gas emissions fell 18 percent, and water consumption declined 13 percent. View the 2020 U.S. Broiler Chicken Industry Sustainability Report here on the NCC website, nationalchickencouncil.org. *********************************************************************************** Red Angus Association Approves Gene-Edited Traits for Animal Registration The Red Angus Association of America announced Wednesday they will provide herdbook registry of Red Angus animals carrying gene-edited traits for heat tolerance and coat color. Both trait approvals originate from specific genetic alterations designed and submitted by Acceligen, a technology company pioneering commercialization of gene-edited food animals. Acceligen has already bred and registered animals that express a trait known for better tolerance to tropical and sub-tropical heat. Black-to-red gene edits have also been made on multiple calves that will be born soon. These traits are a part of Acceligen's business portfolio that focuses on providing opportunities to the global cattle industry for better genetic management of animal well-being and health. Red Angus is the first beef breed organization to accept gene-edited animals into their registry. Tom Brink, the association’s CEO, states, “In considering the future, we see an opportunity to accelerate the Red Angus breed's genetic progress by selectively allowing gene-edited animals into our population.” *********************************************************************************** Meat Institute: Scapegoating Industry Does Not Help Consumer The North American Meat Institute this week claimed the Secretary of Agriculture’s transparent attempts to scapegoat the meat and poultry industry to shift blame for inflationary prices will not help consumers. NAMI President and CEO Julie Anna Potts states, “Americans are experiencing firsthand what the Secretary refuses to acknowledge, the effects of COVID and lack of labor are hurting consumers, and nothing proposed by the Secretary of Agriculture on the structure of the meat and poultry industry will help families struggling to pay for groceries.” After repeated attempts to convey the challenges faced by meat and poultry packers and processors in meeting extraordinary consumer demand to Biden Administration officials, Potts sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack. The letter is in response to Vilsack’s comments during a White House press briefing earlier this month. At the time, Vilsack comments that the structure of the meat and poultry industry is causing price inflation for meat and poultry products. *********************************************************************************** Senator Stabenow to Keynote United Fresh Washington Conference Senator Debbie Stabenow will keynote Wednesday morning's General Session Breakfast, September 22, during next week's United Fresh 2021 Washington Conference. The Michigan Democrat and Chair of the Senate Ag Committee will share insights on how to best address current policies opportunities, and obstacles facing the produce industry. In announcing the keynote, a United Fresh spokesperson states, “Senator Stabenow plays a powerful and unique role in shaping our nation’s agriculture and nutrition policies.” Next week’s Washington Conference, September 20-22 in Washington, D.C., will include face-to-face Congressional meetings as the produce industry advocates for critical issues impacting the fresh produce supply chain, including labor, food safety, nutrition policy, infrastructure and more. The event also features a Produce Advocacy Bootcamp for attendees new to communicating with Congress, workshops on public policy issues, general sessions with national leaders, and networking events as industry leaders come together in common purpose to build a stronger business climate. *********************************************************************************** Consumer Food Prices Up Slightly Again The monthly Consumer Price Index shows a further increase in food prices. The food index increased 0.4 percent in August after larger increases in recent months. The food at home index increased 0.4 percent over the month as four of the six major grocery store food group indexes rose. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.7 percent over the month, as the beef index rose 1.7 percent. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 0.2 percent in August after declining in July. The index for dairy and related products declined in August, falling one percent after rising in each of the previous four months. The index for cereals and bakery products was unchanged in August after increasing 1.2 percent in July. The food at home index rose three percent over the past 12 months. Five of the six major food group indexes increased. The only group to decline was dairy and related products, which fell 0.5 percent over the last 12 months.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 15, 2021 |


University of Missouri FAPRI Baseline Report: Farm Income Could Decline Next Year Higher commodity prices are contributing to a sharp increase in U.S. net farm income in 2021. However, under current policies, farm income could drop again in 2022 as government payments decline and production expenses rise. That's according to the September University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute September baseline report. In 2022, FAPRI predicts net farm income declines by $23 billion, and net cash income falls even more sharply. Reduced government payments and higher production expenses explain the decline, as there is little net change in farm receipts. In later years, projected net farm income remains fairly steady in nominal terms at just under $100 billion each year. Rising asset values and slower growth in debt reduces the sector’s debt-to-asset ratio in 2021 and 2022, temporarily reversing the trend of previous years. Lower projected farm income can halt the rise in farm real estate values in 2023, and the debt-to-asset ratio again begins to increase. *********************************************************************************** Get With Your Tax Advisor Now on Potential Tax Changes Agriculture tax advisory firm KCoe Isom welcomed the proposed tax package that would drop previously suggested changes to the "step-up" in basis. While the legislation is far from the finish line and the proposal is far from final, KCoe's tax advisors noted that the proposed language includes changes that could significantly impact many farmers and ranchers. The firm says farmers and ranchers need to evaluate and address potential tax impacts before year-end. Other changes in the proposed tax bill, including accelerating the reversion of prior estate tax rates and estate tax exemptions, will have the potential to affect farmers without adjustments. According to KCoe's tax advisors, there are opportunities to avoid some anticipated negative effects with proper year-end planning. A spokesperson for the firm states, "Every farmer and other agriculture business owner should be talking with their tax advisors and legal counsel today to evaluate the proposed changes in this bill." *********************************************************************************** Ag Committee Leaders Applaud CFTC Nominations The leadership of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees applaud the recent nominations by President Joe Biden to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. President Biden nominated Rostin Behman as CFTC chair, and Kristin Johnson and Cristy Goldsmith Romero as commissioners. In 2019, Behnam spearheaded the establishment of CFTC's Market Risk Advisory Committee's Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee. Behnam joined the commission in 2017 as a commissioner, and since January 2021, has served as the Acting Chairman. Johnson is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law. Finally, Romero is the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. House Agriculture Chairman David Scott says, “I am very pleased with the nominees President Biden has tapped to help lead the CFTC.” Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow adds, “I was very fortunate to work with Russ for many years and know that he is very knowledgeable and passionate about his work at CFTC.” *********************************************************************************** Trevino Nominated for USTR Chief Agricultural Trade Negotiator President Joe Biden this week nominated Elaine Trevino for chief agricultural trade negotiator at the United States Trade Representative’s Office. Trevino is President of the Almond Alliance of California and served as a Deputy Secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Governor Gray Davis. In the announcement, the White House states Trevino "understands tariff and nontariff barriers to trade and the importance of maintaining America’s strong trade agreements and global positioning.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall welcomed the nomination, stating, “Her strong roots in agriculture and her experience in America’s largest exporting state have prepared her for the challenges of representing the nation on trade issues.” Duvall adds that opportunities to create new trade agreements with the European Union and Great Britain, as well as expanding the China Phase 1 agreement, make “filling this position with the most qualified person extremely important.” *********************************************************************************** Near Record Number of Farmland Sales The pace of land sales picked up this year for Farmers National Company. The company reports it is on track for a near-record or record sales year on several fronts. The higher land prices have spurred an increased number of landowners to sell, with some wanting to complete the sale before year-end due to uncertainty about potential tax law changes. The question becomes whether the increased sale activity will continue into 2022. Based on the calls from landowners that Farmers National Company is receiving, the company says land sales will continue to be brisk into the new year. The higher land prices continue to come into play in the sale or keep decision-making of landowners now and as they look to the immediate future. Many landowners are deciding to sell now and capture the current high prices. However, other landowners are pushing the decision to sell into 2022. *********************************************************************************** Secretary Vilsack to Attend G20 Agriculture Ministerial in Italy Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack heads to Italy this week to attend the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting. The Department of Agriculture says Vilsack will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to international engagement on agriculture and make the case for joint action on climate, food security, agricultural innovation, and closer global integration through trade. The meeting seeks to build consensus around shared concerns ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit 2021, planned for late October in Rome. The G20’s membership, which includes 19 countries and the European Union, represents 60 percent of the world’s population, 80 percent of global GDP and 75 percent of global exports. Vilsack will deliver remarks at the G20 Open Forum on Sustainable Agriculture Thursday, along with planned personal meetings with counterparts from the European Union, Brazil, Italy and Spain. During the meeting Saturday, Vilsack will deliver remarks focusing on the G20's contributions to the United Nations' upcoming Food Systems Summit and Climate Change Conference.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 15, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The Federal Reserve releases its report on U.S. industrial production for August at 8:15 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will release its estimate of members' soybean crush in August later Wednesday morning. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and keep an eye out for any new export sales. Weather Tropical Depression Nicholas was still located over Louisiana but has weakened considerably. Rain may still be heavy around Louisiana and southern Mississippi, which could induce flooding across the southern Delta for maturing soybeans and cotton, but the system is likely to become a remnant low either today or tomorrow. A front will still produce some showers across the southern Midwest and Southern Plains as well, generally with light to locally moderate amounts.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 14, 2021 |


JBS Grand Island Meatpacking Fire Halts Processing A fire at the JBS Grand Island, Nebraska, processing facility halted beef packing production Monday. The Grand Island Fire Department explained via Twitter the fire was burning the roof of the facility’s rendering section. The JBS Grand Island facility is a two-shift, beef-processing plant employing more than 3,600 people. The facility’s Facebook page contained a post stating, “Fabrication and slaughter A and B shift will not be working” Monday. The facility has a daily processing capacity of 6,000 head and slaughters roughly five percent of U.S. cattle. JBS in June announced a $130 million facility improvement effort to increase production capacity at both the Grand Island facility and another in Omaha. The impacts of the fire and how it was started are unclear. JBS told Reuters Monday they expected to reopen the facility Tuesday (today). In 2019, a fire at Tyson’s Holcomb, Kansas facility took out 30,000 head of weekly processing capacity, with immediate and still lingering market disruption issues. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Dems Approve Spending Measure House Ag Committee Democrats Monday approved an incomplete spending package as part of the Build Back Better Act. The legislation will be added with sections approved by other committees to be compiled by the House Budget Committee later this month. The agriculture spending legislation includes $18 billion in rural job-promoting investments through the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development and $7.75 billion to support agriculture research and infrastructure. The bill also includes $1 billion to support expanded biofuel infrastructure, $4 billion for a new Rural Partnership Program, $2.6. billion for the Rural Energy for America Program, and $40 billion for forest-related programs. It does not yet include USDA’s voluntary conservation programs. Iowa Democrat Cindy Axne, who supported the spending package, states, “While I am still withholding my final decision on this package until I see the full bill, seeing these investments included will be a critical part of my choice.” *********************************************************************************** Dairy Checkoff Unveils New Fuel Up to Platy 60 Website The dairy checkoff just updated the farmer-founded Fuel Up to Play 60 program to help students and educators navigate the school year. Fuel Up to Play 60, created by the dairy checkoff and National Football League, developed an easy-to-navigate website educator dashboard and an enhanced student app to meet these needs inside and outside the classroom. Beth Engelmann of Dairy Management Inc. states, "One of the checkoff's key priorities is ensuring dairy products and farmers' story are relevant with today's younger consumers." The website launched Monday to coincide with the "Start Fresh with Fuel Up to Play 60" initiative. The site allows educators and parents to learn about the program and access resources focused on dairy nutrition and dairy farmers' care for the environment. Fuel Up to Play 60 also will work with NFL players, dietitians and educators to share ideas on how they fuel their days on social media channels. Find the new website at www.FuelUpToPlay60.com. *********************************************************************************** AFT Adds to Policy Team to Tackle Climate Issues American Farmland Trust just filled a new position on its policy team to tackle climate issues. Samantha Levy joins the policy team as climate policy manager to lead the organization's climate policy agenda. American Farmland Trust is preparing a multiyear strategy to advance transformational climate policy at the state and federal level, including the 2023 Farm Bill. In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change supported the mounting interest among policymakers in regenerative farming practices as a way to mitigate climate change. A report by American Farmland Trust demonstrates that widespread adoption of just two regenerative practices on U.S. farmland, cover crops and no-till, would sequester the carbon equivalent of removing up to 260 million automobiles from American roadways each year. Previously, Levy led AFT’s climate work in New York, collaborating with farm and environmental groups to incorporate farmers into the state's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Tractor and Combine Sales Increased in August U.S. tractor sales increased last month compared to 2020 while combine sales jumped 19.8 percent, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers monthly sales report. Combine sales posted the second month in a row of growth near 20 percent in the United States, and total farm tractor sales climbed 9.9 percent. Sub 40 horsepower tractor sales were up 8.7 percent, and mid-sized, 40-100 horsepower, sales were up 5.4 percent. Heavy-duty units saw significant growth, with the articulated four-wheel drive segment leading the way for the fourth straight month by climbing 40.4 percent to 306 units sold. Year-to-date farm tractor sales remain up 13.3 percent and combines up 13.8 percent. For Canada, total farm tractor sales were up 1.9 percent and combine sales were up 28.7 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades states, “Farmers investing in more of these big machines is another indicator of that farmer optimism we’ve been seeing.” *********************************************************************************** Weekly Fuel Prices Move Lower Gasoline and diesel prices slipped in the last week as refineries recover from Hurricane Ida. However, Tropical Storm Nicholas threatens refineries in the Houston area, and could pause further declines this week. The weekly average gas price fell 1.9 cents per gallon to $3.15 and the average diesel price slipped less than a half-cent to $3.29 per gallon. Gas Buddy analyst Patrick De Haan states, “While Nicholas would appear to be a minor storm, we could see a deluge of water – the same issue that caused some significant damage in Ida’s wake to refineries in Louisiana.” Meanwhile, gasoline demand continues to decline for the fourth week in a row as the summer driving season ends. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand fell 1.8 percent from the prior week. Crude oil prices have seen upward as some oil production in the Gulf of Mexico remains offline following Hurricane Ida, and oil inventories are down six percent from the five-year seasonal average.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 14, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department reports on the August consumer price index at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the only official report of the day. Traders will be watching the latest weather forecasts and for any news of an export sale. Weather Scattered showers will move through the Central Plains to the Midwest along a front on Tuesday and could be severe. Tropical Storm Nicholas, which was briefly a hurricane Monday night, will produce heavy rainfall for eastern Texas into Louisiana on Tuesday and could cause some flooding. This could impact recovery efforts in Louisiana to get power restored to terminals around the Port of New Orleans as well as flood mature cotton and soybean crops in the southern Delta.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 13, 2021 |


Court Denies Petition for Rehearing on Year-Round E15 The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition for a rehearing in the case of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers vs. EPA Decision. In that case, the court vacated a 2019 regulation allowing year-round sales of E15. The Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and the National Corn Growers Association released a joint statement expressing disappointment. “Our petition for a rehearing was an opportunity for the D.C. Circuit Court to remedy a decision that runs counter to legal precedent and which, if maintained, threatens our nation’s rural economy and progress on moving toward a clean energy future,” the groups say in the statement. “Today’s petition denial is another hurdle to ensuring year-round access to low-carbon E15, but due to the timing, American drivers and retailers will be able to finish out the E15 summer driving season without disruption to their access to cleaner fuel choices at the pump.” The groups say moving forward that they’ll continue to push for a permanent remedy long before the start of next year’s summer driving season. In 2019, the EPA issued its final rule extending the Reid Vapor Pressure volatility waiver to E15, allowing the fuel to be sold year-round in conventional gasoline markets. Oil refiners soon after challenged the rulemaking in the D.C. Court of Appeals. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepts Over 2.5 million Acres in Grassland CRP Signup The USDA accepted offers for more than 2.5 million acres from agricultural producers and private landowners for enrollment through this year’s Grassland Conservation Reserve Program Signup. This is double last year’s enrollment and brings the total acres enrolled across all CRP signups in 2021 to more than 5.3 million acres, surpassing USDA’s goal of four million acres. Producers and landowners submitted offers for nearly four million acres in Grassland CRP, the highest in the signup’s history. “This increased interest in working lands conservation serves two purposes,” says Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shah-no), Farm Service Agency Administrator. “It helps close the gap between the enrollment and available acres, and it leaves room for the administration to be innovative with the other conservation tools, such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, at our disposal as we work to enlist non-traditional partners in our conservation efforts.” He also points out that grasslands sequester an incredible amount of carbon in their roots that are resilient even during drought and wildfires. It also provides good wildlife grazing habitat and grazing opportunities for producers and landowners. “There’s no better way to increase soil health than with thoughtful animal impact,” Ducheneaux adds. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases WASDE/Crop Production Reports USDA released the Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate Reports. USDA is calling for higher corn and soybean production in the U.S. Corn production is forecast at 15 billion bushels, up 246 million bushels from last month on increases to harvested area and yield, which is 176.3 bushels per acre, up 1.7 bushels. Harvested area is 85.1 million acres, up 600,000. The U.S. corn outlook is for larger supplies, increased feed and residual use, greater exports, and higher ending stocks. The season-average corn price dropped 30 cents to $5.45 a bushel. Soybean production is predicted at 4.37 billion bushels, up 35 million with lower harvested area more than offset by a higher yield forecast of 50.6 bushels per acre. The area harvested for soybeans is predicted to be 86.4 million acres, lower than last month but five percent from last year. Soybean supply and use changes include higher beginning stocks, production, exports, ending stocks, and a lower soybean crush rate. The season-average price is down 80 cents to $12.90 per bushel. The U.S. wheat outlook is for reduced supplies, slightly higher domestic use, unchanged exports, and decreased ending stocks. The season-average farm price dropped ten cents to $6.60 a bushel for wheat. *********************************************************************************** USCA Applauds Administration Message on Consolidation and Competition Last week, the White House hosted a press conference featuring Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and Brian Deese, the Director of the National Economic Council, to discuss the meatpacking sector. Both Vilsack and Deese talked specifically about the impacts of a highly concentrated meatpacking sector for American producers and consumers. A White House release outlined how the Big Four meatpackers are generating record profits during COVID-19 and doing so at the expense of consumers, farmers, and ranchers. U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Brooke Miller says that the White House seeing the need for increased competition in the marketplace is a testament to the many agricultural producer and consumer voices who’ve been advocating for change. “COVID highlighted what we already knew to be true,” Miller says. “A lack of transparency and true price discovery hurts independent producers and processors and inflates beef prices at the retail counter.” The USCA says this is an important first step towards addressing the problem of concentration in the meatpacking sector. “We look forward to working with the USDA, including the new advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets, to investigate illegal and anti-competitive practices in the cattle marketplace,” Miller adds. *********************************************************************************** Senators Announce Bill Calling for New Country of Origin Labeling for Beef Last week, a bipartisan group of four Senators jointly announced the American Beef Labeling Act. The legislation would mandate the reinstatement of beef and beef products into the existing Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Law (M-COOL), allowing for a 12-month development and implementation grace period. The Family Farm Action Alliance has long advocated for Country-of-Origin Labeling as an essential tool for transparency in the meat industry. Under current law, imported beef products can bear a “Product of the USA” label once finished and repackaged domestically. Farm Action Alliance says the leniency has benefited large multinational meatpacking companies at the expense of independent, U.S.-based farmers and ranchers. The bill would require to Office of the Trade Representative, in consultation with the Ag Secretary, to develop a World Trade Organization-compliant means of reinstating MCOOL for beef within one year of reinstatement. The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Republicans John Thune and Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Jon Tester of Montana. *********************************************************************************** USDA Joins the Governmental SAF Challenge The USDA joined the government-wide Sustainable Aviation Fuels Grand Challenge to meet 100 percent of U.S. aviation fuel demand. The initiative was announced last week at a White House roundtable. “USDA and American agriculture will make sustainable aviation possible in concert with our federal and industry partners and their stakeholders,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We can expand our ability to power the nation’s aviation sector with fuel grown right here at home by hard-working Americans while creating economic opportunity for American farmers, business owners, and rural communities.” He also says that participating in SAF supply chains is a big win for the aviation business, consumers, and the planet. USDA will provide continued research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies necessary for identifying innovative solutions that will enable a government-wide commitment of producing 35 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2050. It also establishes a near-term goal of three billion gallons per year as a milestone for 2030. The agency will also work to ensure farmers, foresters, small businesses, and rural economies benefit from these opportunities with attention to cost, quality, and quantity of agricultural-based feedstock for producing SAF.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 13, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather forecasts and pause at 8 a.m. CDT to see if USDA has an export sale announcement. USDA's weekly report of grain inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT with amounts still expected to be light, but improved, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. will give the first summary of corn harvest progress and a second week of winter wheat planting progress. Weather Scattered showers are developing as a system moves along a stalled front across the northern tier of the country. Some of the showers could be severe as they move through, which would be hard to recover from should damage occur. Tropical Storm Nicholas will continue to move north with heavy rainfall along the Texas Coastline as well. The system is expected to make landfall later today or tonight but only move slightly inland.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 10, 2021 |


NAMI Responds to Economic Council Comments on High Meat Prices The North American Meat Institute issued a statement on what it calls “inflammatory statements” from Brain Deese, Director of the National Economic Council. During a press briefing, Deese said concentration in the meat sector raised concerns of “pandemic profiteering.” He and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack released a report that says, “Four large conglomerates overwhelmingly control meat supply chains, driving down farmer earnings and driving up consumer prices.” Mark Dopp, COO of the North American Meat Institute, says, “As with almost every industry, meat and poultry packers and processors of all sizes have been, and continue to be, affected by the global pandemic and the inflationary trends that challenge the U.S. economy. American consumers of most goods and services are seeing higher costs, largely due to a persistent and widespread labor shortage. The meat and poultry industry is no different.” Dopp adds that issuing inflammatory statements that ignore the fundamentals of how supply and demand affect the markets accomplish nothing. “Meat and poultry markets are competitive and dynamic, with no one sector of the industry consistently dominating the market at the expense of another,” Dopp adds. *********************************************************************************** Rising Rail Freight Costs Squeezing Farmers and Ranchers Incomes The domestic rail transportation network is vital to moving products and goods supplied by America’s farmers and ranchers. Over 33 million carloads of U.S. goods moved up and down the 140,000-mile rail system, generating over $85 billion in total rail revenue in 2019. The Surface Transportation Board says farm products contributed nearly 7.4 percent, or $6.3 billion, of the total rail revenue. An American Farm Bureau Market Intel Report shows that over the last five years, the cost of shipping grain on railways has increased. Rail rates on corn, soybeans, and wheat, including fuel charges, have gone up 13, 11, and seven percent, respectively, since 2016. Rates on ethanol transportation have increased 18 percent during the same period. Increasing fuel prices in the broader economy are influencing rising rates but not as sharply as some might think. The Association of American Railroad’s three-year fuel price index shows a modest increase in rail fuel prices, but that’s primarily a recovery from COVID-19-related price drops linked to reduced consumption in early 2020. In the first half of 2021, the prices have all but returned to 2018 and 2019 levels. Ohio experienced the highest rate increase of 26 percent by origin, while North Carolina saw the highest increase (22 percent) based on shipping destinations. *********************************************************************************** Ag States Invest in California Ethanol Ag officials from Nebraska and two other states have decided to invest more money into the ethanol-based fuel market in California. The Journal Star says the Nebraska Corn Board and corn checkoff groups in Missouri and Kansas will provide California with $1.25 million over the next 12 months to help increase the availability of gasoline with an 85 percent ethanol blend, commercially known as E85. Pearson Fuels will supply the fuel. California’s largest E85 distributor, Pearson has almost 250 retail locations around the state. This is the Nebraska Corn Board’s second investment in E85 in California. Earlier this year, the Nebraska organization provided two grants to Pearson to help pay for E85 gas pumps at two gas stations in the Los Angeles area. “These stations are moving a tremendous volume of E85,” says John Greer of the Nebraska Corn Board. “One station alone will use about 50,000 bushels of corn in the form of ethanol. The investment is already proving worthwhile for our growers.” California is the largest E85 market in the country and should reach 50 million gallons this year. Despite that, it has fewer E85 stations than either Iowa or Minnesota, which combined have less than one-fourth of California’s population. *********************************************************************************** Groups Highlight Biofuels Benefits for California’s Carbon-Neutral Future A group of ag and biofuel organizations and companies submitted comments last week to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) highlighting the role renewable fuels can play in the state’s plans. They say fuels like ethanol can help California get to its goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2045 or sooner. The board is in the process of updating its Scoping Plan that lays out the path toward achieving the state’s carbon reduction targets. The comments were signed by the leadership of groups like Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, POET, and many others. After reminding the board that ethanol has already cut more than 26 million metric tons of carbon in California, the group recommended that the board expedite the approval of E15 as a legal fuel in California. This action alone could immediately increase the reduction of greenhouse gasses by 50 percent. The second recommendation was that the state considers requiring internal combustion engine light-duty vehicles sold in California be flex-fuel vehicles beginning in the model year 2024. Finally, they urged the board to extend the Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program beyond 2030. *********************************************************************************** Indigo Pays 267 Farmers for Progress in First-Ever Carbon Farming Program Indigo Ag announced it has dispersed initial payments to the inaugural group of “Carbon by Indigo” participants. The 267 paid growers are the first to implement on-farm practice changes and provide the data required to ensure the rigorous measurement and validation of resulting emissions reduction and removal according to registry protocols. The group has helped to pave a path for the scaled production of carbon credits as a new income stream for farmers. Carbon by Indigo is the first carbon farming program to provide outcomes-based direct payments to growers at scale. Indigo also announced plans to expand eligibility for farmers in 28 states. The company says 78 percent of U.S. cropland is now poised to respond to the mounting demand for high-quality credits, which has already resulted in a credit price increase of 35 percent in the first year of the program. Starting in the 2022 crop year, farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are also eligible to begin farming carbon with the support of Indigo’s farmer-first program. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Asking Congress to Address Labor Shortage Through Reconciliation The National Pork Producers Council called on Congress to include language to expand the existing H-2A visa to year-round ag laborers in a budget reconciliation bill, set to get voted on Monday in the House. Like many sectors of the economy, the U.S. pork industry is faced with a severe labor shortage. But even before COVID-19, the industry was having trouble filling jobs, a situation generally attributable to urbanization and an aging rural population. The tight labor market prompted the pork sector to rely on foreign-born workers. “The U.S. pork industry is highly dependent on foreign-born workers, but current visa programs don’t provide access to enough workers to meet the labor needs on our farms and in packing plants,” says NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “We need a dedicated year-round workforce.” The group wants lawmakers to open the current H-2A temporary and seasonal worker visa program to year-round labor, without a limit on the annual number of visas, and to provide legal status for agricultural workers already in the country. Legislation approved earlier this year in the House would expand the program to year-round workers but cap the number of visas that can get issued each year.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 10, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the same time the Labor Department posts the U.S. producer price index for August. USDA's Crop Production and WASDE reports are due out at 11 a.m. CDT Friday with a DTN webinar to follow at noon. Traders will continue to keep their eyes on the latest weather forecasts and any news of export sales. Weather Mild to hot and dry conditions on Friday will promote drydown and early harvest of crops across most of the country. Some showers will be possible in the Pacific Northwest, which would be favorable for winter wheat planting and establishment where they occur.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 9, 2021 |


Tax Proposals Risk Future of American Farms The American Farm Bureau Federation, 46 state Farm Bureaus, and 280 organizations representing family-owned agribusinesses sent a letter to Congressional leaders about tax policies. The letter asks them to leave important tax policies in place as they draft legislation implementing President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. The letter addresses four key tax provisions that make it possible for farmers and ranchers to survive and pass their businesses on to the next generation: estate taxes, stepped-up basis, the 199A small business deduction, and like-kind exchanges. “The policies Congress enacts now will determine agricultural producers’ ability to secure affordable land to start or expand their operations,” the letter says. “Regardless of whether a business has already been passed down through multiple generations or is just beginning, the key to their longevity is a continued ability to transition when a family member or business partner dies.” For this reason, the groups firmly believe the current federal estate tax code provisions must be maintained. These tools are as crucial as ever because the number of farmers and ranchers 65 and over outnumbers those under 35 by four to one. Over 370 million acres of land will change hands in the next two decades. *********************************************************************************** Biofuel Leaders Oppose EPA Motion Regarding 2018 SREs A coalition of biofuel and agricultural groups announced opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s motion to remand but not vacate Small Refinery Exemptions granted by the Trump administration. The coalition includes groups like the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, and the National Farmers Union. The EPA motioned to remand but not vacate the 31 exemptions that the coalition is currently challenging in D.C. Circuit Court. In statements to the court, the groups say that EPA’s issuance of the exemptions was arbitrary and capricious and exceeded the Agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act. “While we’re encouraged that the EPA intends to reconsider the 31 SREs granted for the 2018 compliance year, we oppose the EPA’s motion to remand without a deadline and without addressing the SREs’ ongoing damage to the biofuel industry,” the groups say in a statement. “In addition to seeking a remand, the Biden EPA should ask they get vacated, or at the very least, the EPA should ask the court to set a deadline by which the reconsideration of these petitions must be completed.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Hosting ASF Action Week September 13-17 The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will host African Swine Fever Action Week September 13-17. The goal is to encourage swine producers to take part in multiple webinars to learn about ASF and what they can do to help protect the American swine herd. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized the importance of keeping the devastating disease out of the U.S. “This disease does not affect people and can’t be transmitted from pigs to humans, and it’s not a food safety issue,” the Secretary says. “However, ASF is incredibly destructive, and we need you to be informed.” Every day during the week, APHIS will host a webinar beginning at 2:00 pm Eastern Time every day and covers different topics. They include where ASF exists and what’s at stake, the steps that APHIS is taking to prevent and prepare for ASF, the benefits of biosecurity, what to expect in an ASF outbreak, and the feral swine factor in ASF. The webinars will also be recorded for viewing later. “The disease was recently confirmed less than a thousand miles away in the Dominican Republic,” Vilsack says. “ASF has never been detected in the United States, and we are committed to keeping it out and protecting our vital swine industry.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Expands Assistance to Help with Feed Transportation Costs In response to the severe drought conditions in the Western U.S. and Great Plains, USDA says it plans to help cover the cost of transporting feed for livestock that rely on grazing. USDA will update the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) to immediately cover feed transportation costs for drought-impacted ranchers. The Farm Service Agency will provide more details and tools to help ranchers get ready to apply at their local USDA Service Center later this month at www.fsa.usda.gov/elap. “USDA is currently determining how our disaster assistance programs can best help alleviate the significant economic, physical, and emotional strain agriculture producers are experiencing due to drought conditions,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. ELAP already covers the cost of hauling water during drought, and this change will expand the program beginning in 2021 to cover feed transportation costs where grazing and hay resources have been depleted. Cost-share assistance will also be made available to cover eligible costs of treating hay and feed to prevent the spread of invasive pests. “Today’s announcement is intended to provide relief as ranchers make fall and winter herd management decisions,” Vilsack adds. *********************************************************************************** Axne Secures One Billion in Biofuel Infrastructure Funding Iowa Representative Cindy Axne (AX-knee) announced she secured one billion dollars in funding for biofuels infrastructure spending in the House’s first draft of the Build Back Better Act. The goal of the funding is to support the expanded availability and use of renewable fuels. She says it’s a great thing for rural communities, the ag economy, the planet, and for hundreds of thousands of Americans whose jobs will be supported by the investment. “Make no mistake, this was no easy fight,” Axne says. “For months, I’ve been helping teach others in D.C. about some of the key advantages of biofuels, including the fact that it’s been proven to be twice as clean as fossil fuels.” The Iowa representative says while she won’t announce her final decision on whether she’ll support the package until she sees the full bill, seeing the investments included in the legislation will be a critical part of her choice. House committees are beginning to consider their sections of the Build Back Better Act, which tackles a range of issues like infrastructure, health care, education, and climate. Included in the initial draft is $1 billion in funding for the USDA to provide grants over the next eight years to expand biofuel infrastructure. *********************************************************************************** July Beef Exports Set Record While Pork Value Remains Strong U.S. beef exports set another value record in July. Data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows export value climbed 45 percent from a year ago to just over $939 million, while volume was the third largest of the post-BSE era at 122,743 metric tons, up 14 percent year-over-year. July beef exports to the mainstay Asian markets of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan were relatively steady with last year, but at a significantly higher value. Exports volume growth was driven by record-large shipments to China and a strong rebound in markets located in the Western Hemisphere. From January through July, U.S. beef exports rose 18 percent from last year to over 822,800 metric tons, with the value 30 percent higher at $5.58 billion. Pork exports were steady with last year at 221,800 metric tons, but the export value jumped 20 percent to $657 million. July pork exports were mainly driven by growth in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and the Philippines, while chilled exports were stronger in Japan and South Korea. For January through July, exports were one percent above last year’s record pace at just under 1.8 million tons, while value jumped by eight percent to $4.98 billion.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 9, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Thursday morning's reports start with U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor at 7:30 a.m. CDT, followed by the Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. CDT. The Energy Department releases other energy inventories at 10 a.m. CDT, including a report on ethanol production. USDA's weekly Export Sales report will be released Friday morning, due to this week's holiday schedule. Weather Brief Tropical Storm Mindy has become a depression as it moved into Florida and Georgia Wednesday night. The storm will exit off the coast Thursday afternoon. The system has been producing moderate to heavy rainfall, which could be damaging to open-boll cotton in the region. Across the interior of the country, it will be dry and mild with good conditions for drydown and early harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 8, 2021 |


USDA Announces Pandemic Relief for Farmworkers The Department of Agriculture announced $700 million in competitive grant funding to help farmworkers and meatpacking workers with pandemic-related health and safety costs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the new Farm and Food Workers Relief grant program funding Tuesday. Additionally, $20 million of the funding was set aside for at least one pilot program to support grocery workers. The program will provide relief to farmworkers, meatpacking workers, and front-line grocery workers for expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family, or living expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be awarded through grants to state agencies, tribal entities, and non-profit organizations serving farmworkers and meatpacking workers ranging from $5,000,000 to $50,000,000. Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov. USDA will soon announce a separate $700 million suite of pandemic safety and response grants for producers, processors, farmers markets, distributors, and seafood processors and vessels impacted by COVID-19. *********************************************************************************** Latest Ag Economy Barometer Released The Monthly Ag Economy Barometer rose four points in August to 138. Announced Tuesday, the modest rise was primarily attributable to an improvement in the Current Conditions Index, which climbed 9 points to 152. The Index of Future Expectations rose just two points to 132. Although the barometer and its two key sub-indices improved in August compared to July, all three indices remain well below readings posted this past spring. The barometer follows last week’s USDA report that farm net income and expenses are rising, and producers are becoming increasingly concerned about rising input costs. On the August survey, 39 percent of respondents said they expect input prices to rise by eight percent or more, up from 30 percent who felt that way in both June and July. One in five producers expect farm input price inflation to exceed 12 percent. Additionally, a majority of corn and soybean producers expect a significant rise in farmland cash rental rates for 2022. *********************************************************************************** Barchart Raises U.S. Crop Production Forecasts and Cuts Canadian Estimates Software and technology provider Barchart released its monthly Yield and Production forecasts Tuesday for U.S. and Canadian field crops. The September report indicates an increase in U.S. crop production for corn, soybeans, and hard red winter wheat, while Canadian production forecasts show a decrease for spring wheat and soybeans. Barchart expects U.S. corn production at 15.4 billion bushels with an average yield of 183.6 bushels per acre, higher than the latest USDA figures of 14.8 billion bushels with an average yield of 174.6. Barchart pegs production at 4.5 billion bushels for soybeans with an average yield of 51.3 bushels per acre, compared to USDA's 4.3-billion-bushel crop and 50 bushels per acre average yield. And for wheat, Barchart forecasts U.S. hard red winter wheat average yield at 45.5 bushels per acre compared to USDA’s average yield of 44.5. For Canadian crops, Barchart expects spring wheat production at 773.1 million bushels and soybean production at 222.9 million bushels. *********************************************************************************** Kansas City Southern Engaging with Canadian Pacific Kansas City Southern Railway says the bid from Canadian Pacific may be the superior proposal compared to an offer by Canadian National, which didn’t gain Surface Transportation Board preliminary approval. Legal and financial advisers conclude the deal could reasonably be expected to lead a “Company Superior Proposal” as defined in KCS’s merger agreement with Canadian National. KCS remains bound by the terms of the Canadian National merger agreement, in which CN agreed to acquire KCS in a stock and cash transaction valued at $325 per KCS share. The renewed offer from Canadian Pacific Railway is a cash and stock transaction valued at $300 per KCS share. Canadian Pacific maintains that a CP-KCS merger is the only viable option for KCS following the Surface Transportation Board ruling. Kansas City Southern announced last week it would engage in discussions with Canadian Pacific Railway. Kansas City Southern also scheduled a September 24 stockholders meeting to vote on the Canadian National proposal. *********************************************************************************** AFBF Urges USDA to Address Supply Chain Issues The American Farm Bureau Federation urges the Department of Agriculture to address supply chain issues facing farmers and ranchers. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week, the organization details priorities for USDA to consider in response to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains. AFBF President Zippy Duvall states, “our nation has witnessed vulnerabilities throughout the supply chain that haven’t been seen before,” due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Among the recommendations, AFBF asks USDA to consider action on livestock markets and processing capacity, farm inputs, transportation, labor and trade. The letter states supplies of farm inputs like crop protectants, fertilizers, and seeds have been difficult to obtain, and expensive to purchase. Highway transportation of farm products and supplies is more expensive and less available today than pre-pandemic levels. And agricultural labor, both domestic and foreign, is increasingly difficult to access and expensive, making already small margins even tighter. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Contests Seeks Singer to Perform National Anthem The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is accepting entries for the NCBA National Anthem Contest through October 15. The contest winner will perform the national anthem at the NCBA 2022 convention’s Opening General Session February 1, as well as the Thursday night NCBA event on February 3. The winner will also receive round trip airfare to Houston, a hotel room for three nights, free NCBA convention registration, plus a pair of boots, jeans and a shirt from Roper or Stetson. Any member of NCBA, the American National CattleWomen, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, or family member, are eligible to participate in the contest. Previous NCBA National Anthem Contest winners are not eligible. The top four finalists will be chosen by October 25, 2021, and videos will be posted to the convention website at convention.ncba.org. Voting will be open to the public from November to November 19, 2021, and the winner will be announced November 22, 2021.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 8, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Due to the Labor Day schedule, the only official report on Wednesday's docket is the Beige Book from the Federal Reserve, due out at 1 p.m. CDT. Traders will still pay attention to the latest weather forecasts and any news of export sales that surfaces. Weather Scattered showers are expected across the Southeast on Wednesday as an upper-level disturbance moves into the region tonight. Some flooding will be possible, which could damage open-boll cotton. Additional showers may pop up around the Great Lakes, but with no severe potential Wednesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 7, 2021 |


Keep “Navigable” in the New WOTUS Rule The American Farm Bureau submitted recommendations on the definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS. The organization filed its recommendations with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA announced in June that it intended to revise the definition of WOTUS and solicited pre-proposal recommendations. In its recommendations, Farm Bureau expressed disappointment in the EPA’s decision to replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and explains why the rule should be left in place. “To correct the fatal flaws in the 2015 WOTUS Rule, the Agencies carefully struck ‘a reasonable and appropriate balance between Federal and State waters’ that is ‘intended to ensure that the agencies operate within the scope of the federal government’s authority over navigable waters.’ AFB says the agencies can ensure clean water for all Americans through a blend of the Clean Water Act’s regulatory and non-regulatory approaches, just as Congress intended. Farm Bureau wants new regulations to meet several recommendations, including adhering to Supreme Court precedents, define WOTUS in clear terms that are easy to apply in the field, limits jurisdiction over non-navigable tributaries, and several others. “Any attempt to regulate typically dry low spots on farmland and pastures as ‘jurisdictional‘ waters would constitute overly burdensome regulations,” Farm Bureau also says in its recommendations. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Applauds Dems on Biofuels in Budget Process Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor applauded Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s efforts to include support for homegrown biofuels in Congress’ upcoming budget reconciliation process. Klobuchar was joined by several colleagues in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asking for Congressional leadership to include key biofuel initiatives in reconciliation. Those initiatives include the Biofuel Infrastructure and Agricultural Market Expansion Act, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, the Clean Fuels Vehicle Act, the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act, and the extension of the Second-Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit. In the letter, the members say, “Providing additional market access for higher blends of low carbon fuels in the budget reconciliation process will create jobs in rural communities, lower the price of fuel at the pump, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and will decrease carbon emissions.” Skor appreciates the members who are fighting for the biofuel industry. “We’re currently working on several biofuel issues before Congress,” she says. “That includes a legislative effort to allow retailers to sell E-15 year-round.” She also says the initiatives would return certainty to the biofuels market as it faces regulatory uncertainty from this administration. *********************************************************************************** USDA Offers New Insurance Option for Split-Apply Nitrogen Corn farmers who “split-apply” nitrogen will soon have another option for crop insurance coverage. Starting in the 2022 crop year, the USDA’s Risk Management Agency will offer the Post Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE) in certain states for non-irrigated corn, providing coverage for producers who use this practice that’s considered better for natural resources and saves money for producers. To “split-apply” nitrogen, growers make multiple fertilizer applications during the growing season rather than providing all of the crop’s nitrogen requirements with a single treatment before or during planting. “USDA is committed to building insurance options that encourage the use of practices that are better for the environment and producers’ bottom lines,” says RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy. “We can offer the PACE thanks to the cooperation of four partners, including the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association.” Split application of nitrogen can lead to lower input costs as well as help prevent runoff or leaching of nutrients into waterways and groundwater. This is because it’s used in more targeted amounts over multiple applications, rather than one large application. *********************************************************************************** “Farm Safety Yields Real Results” Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the country and abroad. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health says approximately two million full-time workers were employed in production ag in the U.S. as recently as 2018. About 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury every day. National Farm Safety and Health Week has been recognized during the third week of September for the last 77 years to help bring attention to the risks of working in agriculture. This year, AgriSafe and its partners at the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety picked this year’s theme as “Farm Safety Yields Real Results” for the week of September 20-25. AgriSafe will offer free webinars on tractor and roadway safety, keeping young people safe, anhydrous ammonia safety, respiratory protection, mental health, and women’s health issues. Continuing Education credits for healthcare and allied health professionals will be available with two sessions addressing mental health topics. AgriSafe is an organization made up of health and safety professionals who strive to reduce health disparities found in the agricultural community. *********************************************************************************** Tyson Foods, Unions Reach Deal on COVID-10 Vaccine Mandate Tyson Foods says that labor unions agreed to support its requirement for U.S. employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November. Reuters says the company will offer new benefits to workers including paid sick leave. Companies like Tyson have been trying to give employees incentives to get vaccinated through bonuses and other benefits as the Delta Strain pushes case numbers higher. Tyson Inc., which sells the most meat in the country, said in early August that American workers must get vaccinated, though the requirement for unionized plant workers was subject to negotiations. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, who together represent more than 80 percent of Tyson’s 31,000 unionized workers, say they now support the company’s effort. The UFCW, America’s largest meatpacking union, says it secured 20 hours of paid sick leave per year for Tyson employees as part of the negotiations on the mandate. The company says more than 90,000 employees, about 75 percent of its U.S. workforce of 120,000, have received at least one dose of a vaccine, up from about 56,000 before the mandate. The union says some workers can be exempt from the mandate for religious or medical reasons. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Export Sales Numbers Higher Export sales of soybeans, corn, and wheat for delivery in the 2021-2022 marketing year were all higher week-to-week. The USDA says soybean sales in the seven days that ended on August 26 totaled 2.13 million metric tons, up from 1.75 million a week earlier. China was the top soybean buyer at 1.26 million metric tons, while unnamed countries purchased another 654,000 tons. Mexico, Egypt, and Taiwan rounded out the top five soybean buyers. Exports totaled 324,000 metric tons, up 25 percent over the prior week. Corn sales to overseas buyers for delivery surged to 1.16 million metric tons, up from 684,000 tons the previous week. Mexico was the top corn buyer at 464,5000 metric tons, followed by Colombia, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan. Exports for the week dropped 30 percent to 529,300 metric tons. Wheat sales jumped to 295,300 metric tons, up noticeably from the 116,000 tons sold the week before. Mexico was the top buyer at 103,900 metric tons, followed by Japan, Nigeria, China, and the Philippines. An unnamed country canceled shipments totaling 100,000 metric tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 7, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no major economic reports on Tuesday. DTN will be watching for the sign of any new China demand on USDA sales. We will also be watching for any news on the Gulf export facilities return to normal following Hurricane Ida's devastating impact on Gulf export facilities and power lines. Weather A system moving through the Great Lakes will bring scattered showers to the Midwest on Tuesday. A few of those could be severe from Illinois into Michigan. Some winter wheat areas in Kansas and Texas will also see some shower potential as well, which may be marginally beneficial before a drier pattern settles into the Plains. Unfavorably hot and dry conditions continue in the Pacific Northwest for winter wheat planting and establishment.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 3, 2021 |


Farm Sector Profits Forecast to Increase in 2021 A Department of Agriculture report forecasts increased farm income for 2021. Net farm income is forecast to increase by $18.5 billion, or 19.5 percent. At $113.0 billion, net farm income would be at its highest level since 2013 and 20 percent above its 20-year average of $93.9 billion. In inflation-adjusted 2021 dollars, USDA expects net farm income to rise $15.0 billion in 2021 from the previous year. USDA expects net cash farm income to increase by $23.8 billion, or 21.5 percent, to $134.7 billion in 2021. Net cash farm income encompasses cash receipts from farming as well as farm-related income, including government payments, minus cash expenses. Lower direct Government payments and higher production expenses in 2021 are expected to only partially offset higher cash receipts. The expected decrease is largely because of lower supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance for COVID-19 relief in 2021 compared to 2020. USDA predicts production expenses to increase 7.3 percent to $383.5 billion in 2021. *********************************************************************************** Food Help on the Way for Louisiana Households from USDA Families in Louisiana affected by Hurricane Ida will soon be able to receive food packages containing USDA Foods. The Department of Agriculture approved the short-term measure to address an immediate need for food until a longer-term solution is ready. Earlier this week, USDA also approved a waiver to allow participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to purchase hot foods with their benefits through September 28. The Disaster Household Distribution program was approved to start on September 1, 2021. The program helps states and tribal nations after a disaster disrupts normal food supply channels. Louisiana officials will work directly with their partners and local food banks to issue up to 800,000 food boxes to individuals in the state. And food banks will use their current network of food pantries to distribute foods in areas affected by Hurricane Ida. Each package will contain approximately 25 pounds of USDA Foods, including shelf-stable items like canned goods, fruit, protein items and other staples. *********************************************************************************** USDA Seeking Comments on Labeling Meat Derived from Animal Cells The Department of Agriculture is seeking comments regarding the labeling of meat and poultry products made using cultured cells derived from animals. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking Thursday to solicit comments. FSIS will use the comments to create future regulatory requirements for labeling the food products. In March of 2019, USDA and FDA announced a formal agreement to jointly oversee the production of human food products made using animal cell culture technology and derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. The agreement seeks to ensure that such products brought to market are safe and truthfully labeled. Under the agreement, FDA will oversee cell collection, growth, and differentiation of cells. FDA will transfer oversight at the cell harvest stage to FSIS. FSIS will then oversee the cell harvest, processing, packaging, and labeling of products. There is a 60-day period for comment on the issue. Learn more and comment at fsis.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Democrats Express Concern Regarding Biotech Trade Barriers House Agriculture Committee Democrats are expressing concerns over non-tariff trade barriers imposed on agricultural biotechnology products. Led by Chairman David Scott of Georgia, the lawmakers sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Trade Representative Katherine Tai. The letter addresses China's import approval process delays for U.S. agriculture biotech products. Under the U.S.-China Phase One agreement, China committed to predictable and consistent average timelines for regulating biotechnology products for import and agreed not to request information unnecessary for assessing the safety of a product for its intended use. However, the letter states, "nearly a year and a half into the two-year agreement, timelines for product approvals for import still average more than seven years." Meanwhile, Mexico committed to enhanced biotechnology measures and sanitary and phytosanitary standards in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. But the lawmakers say Mexico has demonstrated a reversal in its treatment of U.S. biotechnology products. Mexico's regulatory authority has not issued a biotechnology approval in over three years. *********************************************************************************** Shackleford Names Assistant USTR for Southeast Asia and the Pacific U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai this week announced Dawn Shackleford as the Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Shackleford most recently served as Assistant United States Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs. USTR Tai states, “Her diplomatic experience and judgement will be invaluable as we engage our trading partners and resume our work to enhance U.S. economic cooperation in Southeast Asia and across the Pacific.” The Office of Southeast Asia and Pacific Affairs is responsible for USTR’s trade and investment relations with the countries of Southeast Asia, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. Before her work at USTR, Shackleford served as a policy analyst within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and in the Department of the Navy from 1998 to 2004 and as an adjunct professor at American University's School of International Service from 2003 to 2005. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Red Meat Exporters and Latin American Buyers Reunite at USMEF Event More than 130 red meat buyers from 21 countries across Central and South America and the Caribbean recently gathered at the U.S. Meat Export Federation Latin American Product Showcase. Attendees included 55 U.S. exporting companies. The event was held annually from 2011-2019 before the COVID pandemic forced a postponement in 2020. The showcase, held August 25-26, is well-established as a go-to event for buyers and sellers alike, but this year's participants were especially anxious to renew business relationships and pursue new opportunities in face-to-face meetings, according to USMEF. Pork and beef producers who provide financial support for the showcase also participated, with this year's event receiving funding from the USDA Market Access Program, the Beef Checkoff Program, the National Pork Board, the United Soybean Board, the Nebraska Beef Council and the Texas Beef Council. A USMEF representative states, “Despite all the travel challenges and other COVID-related restrictions, we were able to move forward with the showcase and the participants are very thankful to be back together after a long absence.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 3, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets Early on Friday we will be watching for the non-farm payroll report and the unemployment rate along with purchasing manager's index (PMI) for signs of how the U.S. economy is faring. We will also be watching for new China purchases and any developments at Gulf shipping terminals. Weather A frontal boundary is moving through the Western Corn Belt Friday morning with some moderate rainfall from western Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota into eastern Kansas. The front will be slow to move south across the Southern Plains. This should provide beneficial rainfall for some areas of the Southern Plains winter wheat areas that have been dry over the last several weeks but could cause some flooding in Kansas.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 2, 2021 |


Agricultural Leaders Urge Farmers and Rural Communities to Get Vaccinated More than 30 state and national agricultural organizations recently joined to promote vaccination among farmers and rural Americans. In an open letter to association members, the organizations added another voice to the call to get vaccinated. In addition, the groups utilized an opinion editorial published in the Des Moines Register to share a message about the connection between agriculture, science, and health. CropLife America President and CEO Chris Novak states, “Whether you live in the city or on the farm, we are all at risk if we don’t take steps to keep ourselves and our communities safe.” The effort is in response to the continued challenge of the COVID-19 delta variant cases increasing among unvaccinated populations. Agriculture leaders are asking farmers to protect their health and their communities by getting vaccinated, saying, "Farmers make science-based decisions every day to protect their farms and their communities - they should make these same decisions to protect their health as well." *********************************************************************************** Canadian Pacific Renews Kansas City Southern Offer The bidding war for Kansas City Southern continues as Canadian Pacific renewed its bid the acquire the railway company. The move followed the Surface Transportation Board’s rejection of the Canadian National bid, which STB determined, “the proposed voting trust is not consistent with the public interest standard under the board’s merger regulations.” Keith Creel, Canadian Pacific President and CEO, states, "we have notified the KCS Board of Directors that our August 10 offer still stands to bring this once-in-a lifetime partnership together." Canadian National issued a statement following the STB decision, expressing disappointment in the STB decision. Canadian National and KCS are evaluating what options are available. Meanwhile, the KCS Board of Directors will evaluate Canadian Pacific’s proposal under the terms of a merger agreement with Canadian National. Canadian Pacific has filed a proxy statement asking stockholders to vote against the proposed CN-KCS combination at the KCS stockholders meeting on September 3. *********************************************************************************** NASS to Review Acreage Earlier for Certain Crops The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service announced Wednesday it will review planted and harvested acreage for select crops earlier than normal. The crops under review include corn, cotton, peanuts, rice, sorghum, soybeans, and sugarbeets. USDA NASS will review all available data, including survey data, satellite-based data, and the latest information from USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency. USDA says it is normal practice for NASS to review the data in September for cotton, peanuts, and rice. However, the review typically takes place in October for corn, sorghum, soybeans, and sugarbeets. USDA officials say the data is sufficiently complete this year to consider adjustments in September on those crops. If the data review justifies any changes, NASS will publish updated planted and harvested acreage estimates in the September 10 report. In October, NASS will again review acreage for corn, sorghum, soybeans, and sugarbeets, as well as for canola, dry edible beans, and sunflowers. *********************************************************************************** RMA Updates Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Organic and aquaculture producers can soon benefit from updates to the Department of Agriculture’s Whole-Farm Revenue Protection plan. USDA’s Risk Management Agency announced Wednesday it is revising the plan of insurance to make it more flexible and accessible to producers beginning in crop year 2022. RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy says the changes to the program “will make it a better risk management tool for producers." Changes to the program include increasing expansion limits for organic producers to the higher of $500,000 or 35 percent, increasing the limit of insurance for aquaculture producers to $8.5 million, and allowing a producer to report acreage as certified organic, or as acreage in transition to organic, when the producer has requested an organic certification by the acreage reporting date. Meanwhile, RMA revised dates for the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage and Apiculture Insurance programs earlier in the week. Farmers now will have until December 1 to make coverage decisions and complete reporting activities. *********************************************************************************** Louisiana Farm Bureau Opens Hay Clearing House, Effects of Hurricane Ida The Louisiana Farm Bureau Livestock Advisory Committee is working to help ranchers through a natural disaster by re-engaging its hay clearinghouse in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Through the effort, volunteers and Louisiana Farm Bureau staff connect ranchers who need hay or pasture for their cattle with pasture space and folks who have hay to donate, or transportation services. Find the resource online at lafarmbureau.org/hayclearinghouse. Hurricane Ida caused significant damage to Louisiana farms, along with damages to the major export corridor of the Mississippi River. USDA’s Weekly Weather Bulletin notes that Ida moved through the eastern side of southern Louisiana’s sugarcane production area, shortly before harvest was due to begin. In addition, Ida battered some row crops, including maturing rice and open-boll cotton. Meanwhile, market experts attribute price declines this week to market concerns over damages to export facilities in the area. The storm was strong enough to briefly reverse the flow of the Mississippi River. *********************************************************************************** Farm Journal Announces Town Hall with Secretary of Agriculture Farm Journal will host a town hall meeting with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday (this) afternoon. The free webinar titled "American Ag Policy: A Conversation with the Secretary of Agriculture is set for 2 p.m. CT. The virtual event will focus on topics important to farmers and all the agriculture industry, including policy priorities, COVID assistance, trade, climate, market transparency and goals for the upcoming year. AgDay TV host and Farm Journal magazine editor Clinton Griffiths will host the event. Griffiths says, “This is an opportunity to hear from Secretary Vilsack himself on the future of the industry, the challenges ahead and the policies he expects to shape our conversations over the next several years.” Audience participants will be able to submit questions during the event. Register online at www.farmjournal.com/farm-country-updates/. All registered attendees will receive on-demand access to the session when available.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 2, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Early Thursday there are a host of economic reports coming out, with initial jobless claims, trade balance and factory orders all giving us some indication of how the economy is doing. Along with that, DTN will be watching for developments at the Gulf export facilities with respect to power outages and structural damage. Of course, we will be watching to see if China shows up in 8 a.m. sales announcements to confirm rumors of soybean buying. Weather A front slowly moving through the Plains will bring areas of moderate to locally heavy rainfall into Minnesota and Iowa tonight. Rainfall will help to ease drought but will not be very useful for corn or soybeans at this point in the season.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 1, 2021 |


Hours-of-service Exemption for Livestock Haulers Extended The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Tuesday extended the exemption from hours-of-service requirements for livestock haulers. Advocated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the organization says livestock haulers continue to need the flexibility for the well-being of livestock during hauls, and to keep grocery stores stocked with beef during the continued disruption of COVID-19. NCBA says livestock haulers have been operating under an hours-of-service exemption since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining a strong safety record. NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera states, "I believe FMCSA's continuation of this exemption indicates their confidence in our producers to keep doing their work safely and effectively." Current hours-of-service rules allow for 11 hours of drive time, 14 hours of on-duty time, and then require ten consecutive hours of rest. However, livestock haulers need flexibility to protect the welfare of animals. The most recent extension will continue through midnight on November 30, 2021. *********************************************************************************** Arizona Judge Vacates Navigable Waters Protection Rule The District of Arizona court ruled this week to vacate the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. However, what the decision means for the rule is one of many questions yet to be answered. Three courts have refused to dismantle the NWPR, including last month when a federal court in South Carolina refused a similar request from plaintiff groups. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall states, “This ruling casts uncertainty over farmers and ranchers across the country and threatens the progress they’ve made to responsibly manage water and natural resources.” Duvall says AFBF is reviewing the ruling to determine the next course of action. Earthjustice sued the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers in the Arizona case. An Earthjustice attorney states the ruling allows “the Clean Water Act to continue to protect all of our waters while the Biden administration develops a replacement rule.” The ruling comes just days ahead of the deadline for comments regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to rewrite WOTUS. *********************************************************************************** WTO Panel to Review China’s Compliance on Farm Product Imports The World Trade Organization this week established a dispute panel requested by China. The panel will determine whether China complied with an earlier WTO ruling regarding the administration of its tariff rate quotas. China submitted its second request for a dispute panel to determine whether it has complied with a 2019 ruling concerning its TRQs for certain agricultural products, including wheat, rice, and corn. The United States does not agree that China has complied with the WTO ruling, and notes that there is a lack of transparency and fairness in China's administration of TRQ measures. China claims that it has fully implemented the rulings and recommendations in the dispute. The U.S. said it is willing to work with China to reach a resolution. Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Guatemala, India, Japan, the Russian Federation, Chinese Taipei, and the United Kingdom reserved their rights to participate as third parties in the proceedings. *********************************************************************************** Argentina Extending Beef Export Limits Argentina Tuesday extended beef export restrictions through the end of October. Reuters reports the Argentine government seeks to bolster domestic supply to help contain rising local food prices. Restricting exports by the Argentine government is often politically fueled, and this time comes a few months ahead of mid-term elections. A similar move occurred in June when the government limited exports on specific beef cuts and capped beef shipments by half of last year’s level through August. The government says the restriction “is essential to guarantee Argentine access to beef in the face of the sharp increase in prices for consumers,” A meat industry representative in Argentina told Reuters the sector had lost around $100 million in exports last month alone due to the restrictions. Argentina is one of the world’s largest beef exporters and a key supplier to China. Global beef prices are surging as China imports more beef, and higher grain prices push feed costs higher. *********************************************************************************** Lenders Can Now Apply for New Heirs’ Property Relending Program Intermediary lenders can now apply for loans through the new Heirs’ Property Relending Program, known as HPRP. The Department of Agriculture is accepting applications through October 29, 2021, and cooperatives, credit unions and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply for the competitive loans. The loans ultimately help agricultural producers and landowners resolve heirs’ land ownership and succession issues. Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shu-know) states, “Heirs’ property issues have long been a barrier for many producers and landowners to access USDA programs and services.” The relending program provides access to capital to help producers find a resolution to these issues. Through HPRP, FSA loans up to $5 million at a one percent interest rate to eligible lenders. Those eligible lenders will reloan funds to heirs to help resolve title issues by financing the purchase or consolidation of property interests and financing costs associated with a succession plan. USDA will host a webinar on September 15 for interested lenders. *********************************************************************************** Tractor Supply Co. Launches Annual FFA T-shirt Fundraiser Tractor Supply Company this week launched its seventh annual FFA T-shirt Fundraiser nationwide. The retailer will sell a special-edition FFA T-shirt in stores and online to support the National FFA Organization for a limited time. Each year, Tractor Supply designs an exclusive T-shirt for the National FFA Convention and Expo and sells it before the event. Campaign proceeds will be distributed to chapters across the country, funding agricultural programs and activities for FFA youth. The 2021 FFA T-shirt is available for $12.99 at Tractor Supply stores nationwide, at TractorSupply.com and through the Tractor Supply mobile app. Proceeds from the program support three FFA programs: Gift of Blue, Living to Serve and Alumni Legacy. Since its inception in 2014, Tractor Supply's T-shirt Fundraiser has raised a total of $1,714,884 for FFA programs. Additionally, Tractor Supply supports FFA in its mission through multiple annual fundraising events, such as Grants for Growing and activities at the local level.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 1, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets On the first day of September, ADP's report of private sector job growth for August will be released at 7:15 a.m. CDT, a possible hint of Friday's unemployment report. The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing is set for 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. Weather Ida and her remnants will move through the mid-Atlantic on Wednesday while another system moves across the Northern Plains with increasing showers for the Dakotas down to Colorado. High temperatures will continue in the Southern Plains for the next few days, which is unfavorable for winter wheat planting.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 31, 2021 |


Vilsack Comments on USDA Trade Forecast The Department of Agriculture’s quarterly trade forecast released last week shows that U.S. agricultural exports not only continue at a record-setting pace for fiscal year 2021, but they will eclipse the 2021 total in fiscal year 2022. The August forecast is USDA’s first look at expected exports for 2022. Following the report, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says of farmers and ranchers, “global demand for their products is a testament to their quality, safety and commitment to sustainability and has led to a projected new record in U.S. agricultural exports.” The fiscal year 2021 forecast of $173.5 billion is $33.8 billion, or 24 percent, higher than the 2020 final total and nearly $17 billion above the previous record set in 2014. For fiscal year 2022, U.S. farm and food exports are projected at a record $177.5 billion, topping 2021’s forecasted level by $4 billion. The increase is primarily driven by expected record exports of soybeans, horticultural products, dairy products and sorghum. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Host AFS Webinars The Department of Agriculture will host webinars on African swine fever as part of African Swine Fever Action Week, September 13-17. USDA will host daily webinars to learn more about African swine fever and its global spread, actions the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is taking to safeguard the U.S., and biosecurity measures you can implement now to protect the U.S. herd. The Action Week is part of the continuing efforts to respond to the detection of African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic and prevent its introduction into the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. ASF has not been detected in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, and USDA is committed to keeping it out of both islands and the rest of the United States. APHIS is taking this additional action to further safeguard the U.S. swine herd out of an abundance of caution. You can learn more and find registration at ahpis.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Truck Used in B100 Pilot Showcased at Farm Progress Show The 2021 Farm Progress Show is underway, and attendees can see one of the five trucks in last year’s B100 pilot program in Decatur, Illinois. The pilot, conducted by ADM, the Illinois Soybean Association, Optimus Technologies, American Lung Association, National Biodiesel Board and Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, was designed to demonstrate the feasibility of commercial implementation of Optimus Technologies’ Vector System. The system enables conventional diesel vehicles to operate on 100 percent biodiesel, known as B100. Five of ADM’s Class 8 over-the-road trucks, equipped with The Vector System, were used in daily fleet operations. The vehicles successfully traveled hundreds of thousands of miles on B100, even in the coldest temperatures of a central Illinois and Missouri winter. The cab is on display outside ADM's exhibit at the corner of Seventh Progress Street and Central Progress Avenue. The 2021 Farm Progress Show runs from Tuesday (today) to Thursday in Decatur, Illinois. *********************************************************************************** Hurricane Ida Impacts Expected to Increase Fuel Prices GasBuddy’s weekly price outlook shows lower prices than last week but expects an increase following Hurricane Ida. Over the next few weeks, the national average may rise 5-15 cents per gallon or so, subject to damage assessments happening now. The weekly average price fell 2.2. cents to 4.12 per gallon, with diesel down one cent at $3.26 per gallon. Meanwhile, the Renewable Fuels Association says the Environmental Protection Agency can take action to minimize the hurricane’s impact on fuel prices. In a letter to the EPA, RFA’s Geoff Cooper states, “we ask that EPA take steps to immediately allow fuel terminal operators, blenders, and marketers to increase their use of fuel ethanol to help fill the void in gasoline supplies created by refinery shutdowns in the Gulf Coast.” Most oil refineries in the Gulf Coast region are either shut down or operating at reduced rates. When operating normally, these facilities account for about 12 percent of the nation’s refining capacity. *********************************************************************************** Texas Farm Animal Liability Act Changes Means Changing on-farm Signage Texas livestock owners need to update signage around their farm to keep protections under the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act. Texas AgriLife Extension agriculture law specialist Tiffany Dowell Lashmet tells AgriLife TODAY, “House Bill 365 made important changes to expand the scope of the Act in response to a Texas Supreme Court decision last year.” Previously, a sign was required only for farm animal professionals, but farm and ranch owners and lessees must also now hang a sign at or near their arena, corral or stable to get the statute’s protections. Passed in 1996, the Texas Supreme Court case in 2020 ruled the act did not apply to injuries on working farms and ranches. Texas lawmakers responded to ensure it applies to those entities, outlining all activities, species, and situations covered. Texas Farm Bureau and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will have signs available, or individuals can make their own. *********************************************************************************** Interior Department Expands Recreation on Fish and Wildlife Managed Areas The Interior Department Monday announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened new or expanded hunting and sport fishing opportunities across 2.1 million acres. The increase is the largest expansion of outdoor recreation opportunities in recent history. The increased recreational access includes 88 National Wildlife Refuges and one National Fish Hatchery. Secretary Deb Haaland (Holland) states, "Increasing access to outdoor recreation opportunities is essential to advancing the administration's commitment to the conservation stewardship of our public lands. The announcement expands 910 opportunities for hunting or fishing, as an opportunity is defined as one species on one field station. The announcement brings the number of units in the National Wildlife Refuge System where the public may hunt to 434 and the number where fishing will be permitted to 378. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 31, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Early reports out Tuesday include the Chicago PMI (purchasing managers index), which could give a hint as to how the economy is doing, and the Consumer Confidence Index. DTN will also be watching for any deliveries against the expiring September contracts, new Chinese buying and updated weather forecasts. Weather Tropical Depression Ida continues to produce tropical rainfall and flooding along its path across the Tennessee Valley and Southeast on Tuesday. A front across the southern portions of the Midwest and Central Plains will do the same with periods of showers.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 30, 2021 |


Western House Members Ask for FEMA Disaster Declaration Several members of Congress are asking President Biden to declare a drought disaster in the western United States as record temperatures and wildfires hit several states hard. Democrats Joe Neguse (Neh-GOOSE) of Colorado and Jared Huffman of California, whose districts have been hit hard by drought and wildfires, joined 31 other lawmakers in the House asking the president and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to release additional resources to help Western areas faced with water cuts as supplies dwindle. “There’s little to no livestock feed available in the West, farmers are considering selling their livestock or land, and many species of wildlife are suffering from wildfires and no water,” Huffman and Neguse wrote in a letter to the White House. “This drought could have long-term impacts on our food supply, wildlife, and the livelihoods of Americans across the Western U.S.” NBC News says the letter supports a similar request this month from governors of 10 drought-stricken states asking the Biden administration to declare a drought disaster that would allow “agricultural communities to get access to funds that aren’t available through existing disaster programs.” The governors pointed out in their letter that historic drought may wipe out entire crops, limit yields, and lead to extreme levels of pests and disease that could add to the disaster. *********************************************************************************** Ag Credit Conditions Continue Improving Strength in the U.S. agricultural economy continues to drive improvement in farm income and credit conditions. As in recent quarters, farm loan repayments rates increased rapidly, and loan demand remained subdued. Bankers in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Districts also continued to report additional increases in farm income. With support from stronger farm finances and historically low interest rates, farmland values increased by at least 10 percent in almost all states in the district. The sharp bounce back in the American farm economy over the past year has bolstered farm income and credit conditions. However, profit opportunities in the cattle industry remained more limited than other major commodities, and ongoing drought has also created concerns for some producers. But strong support from government aid programs has provided ongoing support, and the outlook for farm finances in 2021 remained strong based on recent reports across the Federal Reserve Districts. Farm income increased substantially from last year throughout all participating districts. In the Kansas City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis Districts, the majority of bankers all said income was higher than the same time last year, and less than ten percent say incomes had dropped. *********************************************************************************** Groups Urge Congress to Pass the Next Generation Fuels Act Growth Energy praised the introduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act, sponsored by Illinois Democrat Cheri Bustos (BOOS-tohs) and Republican James Comer of Kentucky. CEO Emily Skor says the legislation represents a clear roadmap for turbo-charging the country’s progress against climate change while offering drivers cleaner, more affordable options at the pump. “With a natural octane of 113, ethanol is the only high-performance, homegrown, renewable fuel that’s ready to immediately loosen the hold that OPEC and its allies in Russia have over U.S. fuel prices,” Skor says. “This also directly addresses a recent court decision that threatens to stall the growth of higher biofuel blends like E15.” She also points out that low carbon, higher biofuel blends hold enormous potential for rural America’s role in clean energy production. The National Farmers Union also hailed the legislation. “There are many benefits to adopting low-carbon, high octane ethanol blends,” says NFU President Rob Larew. “Higher blends increase engine and vehicle efficiency, providing greater GHG emission reductions, as well as reducing emissions of criteria pollutants and air toxics.” *********************************************************************************** Groups Disappointed in Neonicotinoid Evaluation Grower organizations representing a variety of crops are disappointed with the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft biological evaluation (BE) for several neonicotinoid (NEO-ni-koh-tee-noid) products. The groups representing farmers across the country say that failure to consider real-world usage data in the analysis conducted as part of the Endangered Species Act could limit growers’ ability to protect their crops from pests, protect their livelihoods, and make sure endangered species are safe. The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Cotton Council, and Minor Crop Farmer Alliance say ESA analysis, by law, is required to use “the best scientific and commercial data available” to ensure endangered species and their habitats will not be adversely affected by the agency’s decision. The groups point out that the EPA didn’t use the “best available data” and say that several assumptions the EPA made don’t align with how growers actually use the products. “USDA survey and commercial use data are available and show how growers use these tools, but the draft BE instead includes application rates, numbers, types, and reapplication timing for these products that are very inconsistent with the actual available data,” says Kevin Scott, president of the American Soybean Association. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Expanded Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Organic Crops The number of agricultural producers who buy crop insurance for their specialty or organic crops continues to climb. USDA attributes that to its work with producers and agricultural groups in recent years to create new crop insurance options. USDA’s Risk Management Agency recently released reports on specialty crops, organic crops, local food production, and greenhouse production, which highlighted insurance option improvements for specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture crops, and organic crops. Some improvements were put in place by the 2018 Farm Bill, while others resulted from producer feedback and research. “We recognize the necessity to adapt insurance options to meet agricultural producers’ needs,” says RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy. Between 1990 and 2020, liabilities for insured specialty crops rose from $1 billion to over $20 billion. From 2010 to 2020, liabilities for insured organic crops rose from $207 million to more than $1.7 billion, and the number of policies more than doubled. RMA and third-party groups also continue to refine existing policies and create new ones when there are gaps in coverage. Improvements include new options for California Citrus Trees, Florida Citrus, Hurricane Insurance Protection, and expanded crop insurance options for hemp. *********************************************************************************** Young Cattle Producers Needed for 2022 Convention Internships The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is offering college students a unique behind-the-scenes experience at its annual convention internship program. The 2022 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, the largest annual meeting of the U.S. beef cattle industry, will be on February 1-3, in Houston. Up to 18 interns will get selected and be responsible for setting up the indoor arena, assisting at committee meetings and Cattlemen’s’ College, posting on social media, and contributing in the NCBA booth. NCBA will also make sure the interns have adequate time to maximize their industry networking opportunities. Interns have to be available to work January 29-February 5, 2022, provide their own transportation to Houston, and be at least a junior in college at an accredited university at the time of the event. Applicants need a 3.0 GPA, should be well-versed in all areas of social media, and preferably have a background in or working knowledge of the cattle and/or beef industry. Students need to complete an online Student Internship Application and submit college transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a resume. The deadline is October 16.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 30, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will have checked rainfall amounts and the latest forecasts, especially the anticipated track of Tropical Storm Ida. A report on U.S. pending home sales is due out at 9 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's weekly grain export inspections report at 10 a.m. USDA's Crop Progress report will be out at 3 p.m. CDT. Weather Heavy rainfall from now Tropical Storm Ida will continue to move north through the Deep South on Monday, causing a risk of flooding. Other scattered showers are expected along a front across the southern Midwest back through the Central and Northern Plains. Some severe storms could be possible in the Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 27, 2021 |


NPPC Applauds ASF Protection Zone Designation The USDA announced its intention to designate Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as a “protection zone.” That’s a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) designation that allows the U.S. to maintain its current animal health status should there be the detection of African Swine Fever or other foreign animal diseases on the island territories. The USDA will work to gain OIE acceptance of this designation to maintain U.S. pork export continuity should Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands have an animal test positive for African Swine Fever in the future. The United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, remain free of ASF, a swine-only disease with no implications for human health. There is no commercial pork trade from Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland. “We thank Secretary Vilsack for taking this pre-emptive step to preserve the continuity of U.S. pork exports as we continue to work together to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever to the United States,” says Jen Sorenson, President of the National Pork Producers Council. The USDA, Customs and Border Protection, NPPC, and others are working together to contain the first outbreak of ASF in the Western Hemisphere in about 40 years to the Dominican Republic. *********************************************************************************** Grassley Wants Administration to Fill Ag Trade Positions Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley called on President Biden to fill a couple of key USDA positions that deal with agricultural trade. He wants qualified officials appointed to the positions of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. “I write to you today to express my concern that your administration is not making agricultural trade a priority,” Grassley said in the letter to the White House. “Two positions that are essential to agricultural trade have been left vacant, and there is no indication on when they will be filled. Appointing individuals to these two positions will allow the U.S. to expand market access and strengthen our agriculture community.” He points out that agriculture is essential to the livelihood of the 86,000 family farmers in Iowa and Americans who rely on export markets to sell the country’s abundance of food. “Every day that passes without qualified leadership in these positions means the U.S. is playing without a full team against our competitors,” Grassley also says. “Agriculture trade issues will continue to matriculate, and these two positions will have a portfolio that impacts every farmer and rancher in the country.” *********************************************************************************** NFU’s Larew Testifies on Increasing Use of Biofuels Rob Larew, president of the National Farmers Union, testified before the Environmental Protection Agency during a hearing on the planned revision of the Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Emission Standard. As automakers refine vehicle technology, the increased use and development of biofuels represents an opportunity to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from internal combustion engines. Higher ethanol levels not only increase engine productivity but also reduce criteria air pollutants and air toxics once they are fully deployed. NFU has long supported biofuels, such as E30, that can be realized in new and existing internal combustion engines. Larew told the EPA that biofuels are a vital component of this nation’s energy policy. “NFU has long urged the EPA to support rural Americans by promoting higher-level blends of ethanol as a cost-effective means of achieving required and improved octane levels,” Larew says. “We again ask EPA to acknowledge the potential for high octane, low carbon fuels, such as E30, to reduce GHG emissions from light-duty vehicles.” Larew also reminded the EPA that the agency must also consider the economic benefits of the increased use of mid-level ethanol blends as a high octane, low carbon, cost-effective fuel will bring to struggling rural communities while also benefitting consumers. *********************************************************************************** Farmer Optimism, the Supply Chain, and How They Affect Tractor, Combine Sales In the second quarter of 2021, money that had been diverted by COVID-19 from travel and other activities into the small tractor market began to return to normal use. Sustained gains in commodity prices, however, have resulted in farmers continuing their buying sprees for larger tractors and harvesters, as shown in AEM’s monthly Ag Tractor and Combine reports. The under-40 horsepower tractor market has softened a bit compared with the big numbers from last year,” says Curt Blades, Senior Vice President of Ag Service for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “However, row crop tractors sales have performed well in the second quarter.” He also says the numbers are positive for articulated four-wheel-drive tractors, and even combines are showing “signs of life.” The biggest drivers behind the big-ticket equipment sales are the higher than usual commodity prices and farmer confidence that those prices are going to stay there for a while. However, the supply chain, especially when it comes to the availability of semiconductors, is restricting the available inventory of equipment across all segments. Total tractor inventory at the end of the second quarter of this year is down more than 37 percent compared to the same time last year. Blades notes the association is doing everything possible to help the industry get machines to dealer lots as quickly as possible. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Soy Crop Quality Report Issued U.S. Soy and Pro Farmer teamed up for the 2021 U.S. Soy Crop Quality Report. The crop looks good right now, but without moisture, that could fall in some areas. That report comes from Chip Flory, editorial director with Pro Farmer. He presented the results to hundreds of global customers during the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange and Specialty Grains Conference. Fields across much of the U.S. have good stands, but Flory says the pod counts weren’t there when they got out into the fields for the Pro Farmer Crop Tour. However, it’s not pod counts that lead to yield, but rather it’s how they fill out. Illinois took the top spot on the crop tour with an average of 1,279.8 pods in a 3X3 foot area. South Dakota set the low mark at an average of 996.9 pods. The report also says that many bean fields are at a critical stage and in need of rain. With rains in the next couple of weeks, those pods could easily fill out. However, if beans stay dry, they will lose pod fill. Meanwhile, the USDA says the average Illinois yield should be 64 bushels an acre, up from 59 bushels a year ago, and Iowa yields will be at 58 bushels an acre, up from 53 bushels last year. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Increasing Sugar Imports to Cover Domestic Shortfall The U.S. government says it is increasing the lower-tariff sugar import quota for the fiscal year 2021 by 90,100 tons. Reuters says the goal is to increase the short-term supply on the domestic market. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office says it would allow this additional volume to enter the country until October 31, a month later than the usual cutoff. The U.S. fiscal year finishes at the end of September. With the addition to the Tariff Rate Quota, or TRQ, the total volume of sugar entering the U.S. at a lower tariff will rise to 1.2 million tons. That’s more than the 1.1 million tons the U.S. committed to within the World Trade Organization rules. It’s the second move from the U.S. government on sugar import quotas in the last two months. In July, it reallocated part of the TRQ import quotas to other countries because some of the original license holders failed to deliver their products. The Dominican Republic will get the largest share of the additional low-tariff quota at 19,000 tons, followed by Brazil and Australia. The increase comes as sugar futures on the U.S. domestic market are at their highest level in nine years.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 27, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. personal incomes and spending in July is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT. At 9 a.m. CDT, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will address the Jackson Hole economic symposium and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index will be released at the same time. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news from the Environmental Protection Agency or news pertaining to export sales. Weather Batches of heavy rain were noted early Friday morning across the eastern Dakotas and Upper Midwest and are forecast to continue developing throughout the day, which may cause flooding in drought-afflicted areas. Additional showers are expected to develop from eastern Colorado into western Iowa and across Montana and the western Dakotas late this afternoon and evening and could be severe. Hot temperatures continue to stress the final fill stages south of this zone of showers.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 26, 2021 |


USDA Establishes Dairy Donation Program Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh (Bruh-NAW) Wednesday announced the establishment of a $400 million Dairy Donation Program. The program aims to facilitate timely dairy product donations while reducing food waste. The establishment of DDP is part of the $6 billion pandemic assistance USDA announced in March and follows last week's announcement of the $350 million Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program for dairy farmers. Under the DDP, eligible dairy organizations will partner with non-profit feeding organizations that distribute food to individuals and families in need. Those partnerships may apply for and receive reimbursements to cover some expenses related to eligible dairy product donations. The program was inspired in part by the donations made by Michigan Milk Producers Association in conjunction with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in response to the Flint water crisis. Deputy Secretary Bronaugh says, “Together we can help someone in need, minimize food waste and support the U.S. dairy industry.” *********************************************************************************** USDA to Invest $50 Million in New Cooperative Agreements for Racial Justice and Equity The Department of Agriculture is investing up to $50 million in cooperative agreements to support historically underserved farmers and ranchers with climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The Racial Justice and Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements are available to entities for two-year projects that expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby says, "USDA is committed to revising programs to be more equitable, and these producers deserve our support as they contribute to our vibrant and diverse agricultural communities." The projects should help historically underserved farmers and ranchers implement natural resources conservation practices that improve soil health and water quality, provide habitat for local wildlife species of concern, and improve working agricultural land's environmental and economic performance. Entities that provide outreach assistance to historically underserved groups are eligible to apply for the funding. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Wheat Associates Welcomes Suspension of Vietnam Wheat Import Tariff U.S. Wheat Associates applauds USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service for their work alongside Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance to reduce the cost of wheat for Vietnam’s millers and consumers. Vice President Kamala Harris announced Vietnam will reduce or eliminate import tariffs on several U.S. commodities, including wheat. The tariff suspensions are expected to be implemented soon. It will also help make U.S. wheat more competitive in Vietnam’s growing wheat market. Like many countries this year, Vietnam has seen significant food and feed price inflation due to the rise in global commodity prices and COVID impacts on supply chains. The newly announced reduction follows one from July 2020, when Vietnam reduced its tariff on imported U.S. wheat, excluding durum, from five percent to three percent. Despite the tariffs, Vietnam’s imports of U.S. hard red winter, soft white and hard red winter wheat exceeded 500,000 metric tons in marketing year 2020/21, second in volume only to Australia. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Ask U.S. Ambassador to Iraq to Support U.S. Wheat Sales to Iraq Republican Senators call on U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller ( too-lur) help Iraq purchase wheat. Four Senators joined Roger Marshall of Kansas in signing the letter, Senators John Boozman of Arkansas, Jerry Moran of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas, and James Inhofe of Oklahoma. The lawmakers specifically ask Ambassador Tueller to engage in the wheat tendering process and for the U.S. State Department to offer additional assistance to the Iraqis to purchase U.S. wheat. From the time a tender is issued, it takes nearly three months for wheat to arrive in the country. The letter states, "Wheat purchases by Iraq require multiple ministries working in tandem, which is where we are hopeful your outreach to them can be helpful." The letter cites smaller than expected harvest and lower government procurement of local, which means Iraq will need to import a substantial volume of wheat to continue to operate their primary subsidized feeding program, the Public Distribution System. *********************************************************************************** NFU Welcomes New Guidance on Enforcement of Packers and Stockyards Act Provision USDA this week issued a guidance document on how the department will enforce the final rule on "Undue and Unreasonable Preferences and Advantages" under the Packers and Stockyards Act. The guidance comes as USDA composes new rules to bring fairness to the marketplace for farmers and ranchers. National Farmers Union strongly supports strengthening the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect livestock producers from unfair treatment and practices by meatpackers and integrators. In response, NFU President Rob Larew states, “We welcome USDA’s newly released guidance, which demonstrates a further commitment to strong enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.” USDA says the proposed rules will strengthen the department’s enforcement of unfair and deceptive practices and undue preferences, address the poultry grower tournament system, and make it easier for USDA to bring enforcement actions under the Act. And, USDA says the enforcement policy commits USDA to defend farmers to the maximum extent possible. *********************************************************************************** EPA Announces Resources to Better Address Nutrient Pollution Affecting Waters The Environmental Protection Agency this week released new resources to address adverse effects of nutrient pollution in waters, including algae blooms. The three new resources will help EPA’s co-regulators and partners better protect waters from the effects of nutrient pollution. The three resources include the agency’s Final Recommended Nutrient Criteria for Lakes and Reservoirs, a web-based tool with information and tracking of harmful algal blooms. EPA has published revised recommended ambient water quality criteria under the Clean Water Act to help address nutrient pollution in lakes and reservoirs. EPA says the new criteria will help protect drinking water sources, recreational uses, and aquatic life in our nation’s lakes and reservoirs. EPA has also published a new ArcGIS StoryMap that will allow the public to learn about and track reported cyanobacteria (sy-an-no) in freshwaters across the country. Finally, the EPA has published a Final Technical Support Document for co-regulators such as states, territories and tribes to protect swimmers from two cyanobacterial toxins produced by harmful algal blooms.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 26, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, an estimate of U.S. GDP for the second quarter and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas inventories is set for 9:30 a.m. Traders remain interested in the latest weather forecasts and any export news that arises. Weather Thursday is shaping up to be very active across the Dakotas and into the Upper Midwest. Heavy rainfall is forecast to increase throughout the day and there may be some severe weather as well. Rainfall may provide some late benefit to filling corn and soybeans but should help to ease the drought as well. To the south of this zone of rain, it will remain hot and humid, stressing the end of the fill period for crops.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 25, 2021 |


USDA Updates CFAP 2.0 for Poultry and Specialty Crop Producers The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, or CFAP 2, funds for contract livestock producers and specialty crop growers. CFAP 2 assists producers who faced market disruptions in 2020 due to COVID-19. USDA announced $1 billion is available through the program to contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry for revenue losses in 2020. USDA expanded coverage to include chickens, poultry eggs, turkeys, hogs and pigs, ducks, geese, pheasants and quail, including eligible breeding stock and eggs of all eligible poultry types produced under contract. USDA now also allows contract producers to use eligible revenue from 2018 or 2019 to prove losses compared with 2020 revenue. USDA also announced it is amending the CFAP 2 payment calculation for several commodities by allowing farmers to substitute 2018 sales for 2019 sales. Sign-up for CFAP 2 was re-opened in March and remains open. All new and modified CFAP 2 applications are due by October 12. *********************************************************************************** USDA On Track to Provide Record Support for Rural Working Capital USDA Rural Development undersecretary Justin Maxson says the department of Agriculture is on track to provide record support of rural working capital in the current fiscal year. USDA has invested $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses in 41 states, Guam and the Virgin Islands. The investments made through the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Business and Industry CARES Act Program are expected to create or save more than 12,000 jobs for people in rural areas. USDA has invested $811 million through the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program since the start of the current fiscal year. The assistance has helped businesses create or save more than 6,000 jobs in rural areas. USDA also invested $380 million in rural businesses through the Business and Industry CARES Act Program. Maxson states, “USDA remains committed to helping rural businesses create job opportunities so rural Americans can build back better and stronger than ever before.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Proposed Framework for Advancing Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 The Department of Agriculture is dedicating $300 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to conduct surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging and zoonotic diseases. The effort aimed at susceptible animals includes building an early warning system to alert public health partners to potential threats so they can take steps sooner to prevent or limit the next global pandemic. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is the lead agency responsible for implementing the early warning system. The framework outlines how the agency will focus its efforts to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other emerging and zoonotic diseases that could pose a threat to both people and animals. Establishing an early warning system will require a multi-year effort. USDA will build upon its existing infrastructure to implement a risk-based, comprehensive, integrated disease monitoring and surveillance system domestically, and enhance collaboration internationally. *********************************************************************************** Senators Urge EPA to Waive Biofuel Blending Requirements A Group of 17 Republican Senators call on the Environmental Protection Agency to waive or significantly reduce volume requirements for 2020, and set the upcoming 2021 and 2022 renewable fuel obligations “at levels that reflect reality.” In a letter to the EPA, the lawmakers state, “Obligated parties subject to the onerous requirements of the RFS have been facing historically high compliance costs, which threaten the viability of these entities’ continued operations.” The senators continued, “We urge EPA to take action to reduce RFS compliance costs in order to avert additional financial hardship for consumers and protect the continued viability of U.S. refineries.” Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper responds to the letter, stating it “just rehashes the same tired arguments that have been disproven time and time again.” Cooper says “anti-ethanol” Senators are “circling the wagons to protect the status quo for Big Oil and continuing their efforts to undermine cleaner, greener renewable fuels.” *********************************************************************************** Colorado Senator Launches Outdoor Restoration Partnership Act Promotion Tour Colorado Senator Michael Bennet Tuesday launched a promotion tour in Colorado for his Outdoor Restoration Partnership Act. The two-day tour, according to the Democratic Senator, shows the need to include the legislation in the Build Back Better Budget. The bill would invest $60 billion in forests and watersheds. Bennet first introduced this proposal in December that he says will provide direct support to local, collaborative efforts to restore habitat, expand outdoor access, and mitigate wildfire. Reintroducing the bill earlier this year, Bennet stated, “For too long, Congress has failed to meaningfully invest in our western lands, undermining our economy and way of life.” Bennet says the bill will generate over $156 billion in economic output, with a return of up to $15 for every dollar spent on restoration, while upgrading natural infrastructure. The proposal has bipartisan support, and a companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by lawmakers from Colorado and Idaho. *********************************************************************************** Beck's Hybrids Acquires Bayer Facility in Iowa Beck's Hybrids this week announced the purchase of a Bayer processing plant in Beaman, Iowa, for soybean production and processing. The fully operational site will provide Beck's with soybean seed processing capabilities and additional warehousing. Beck's CEO Sonny Beck says, "This new facility will allow Beck's to maximize efficiency, stay ahead of demand, and deliver products faster." Ten former Bayer employees were hired by Beck's to continue operations at the facility. The facility features approximately 30,000 square feet of warehousing and is configured with modern equipment necessary for Beck's to process and treat one million units of soybeans per year. In addition to the facility in Beaman, Beck's has three other locations in Iowa. As the largest family-owned retail seed company in the United States, Beck's has seen tremendous growth over several decades and has doubled in size in the past six years alone. Today, Beck's is the third-largest corn and soybean brand in the United States.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 25, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. durable goods orders in July is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and pause at 8 a.m. to see if USDA has another export sale announcement. Weather A frontal boundary across the Corn Belt will remain active on Wednesday and could contain more severe weather due to the high heat and humidity south of the front. The heat is likely to be stressful where showers do not occur, but most areas south of the front have adequate soil moisture for filling crops with some exceptions, mainly in the Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 24, 2021 |


USDA Accepts 2.8 Million Acres for the Conservation Reserve Program The Department of Agriculture has accepted 2.8 million acres in offers for enrollment into the Conservation Reserve Program in 2021. This year, almost 1.9 million acres in offers have been accepted through the General CRP Signup, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency has accepted over 897,000 acres for enrollment through the Continuous Signup. The Continuous Signup remains open, and CRP Grasslands Signup closed last week, so USDA expects to enroll more acres into all of CRP than the three million acres that are expiring. Despite Congress raising the enrollment target in the 2018 farm bill, there have been decreases in enrollment for the past two years. USDA made changes this spring to reverse the trend. FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shu-know) says, “Even with the improved direction, USDA will still be about 4 million acres below the enrollment target.” The four million-acre shortfall in CRP would represent A loss of 1.5 million acres of quality wildlife and pollinator less habitat for wildlife. *********************************************************************************** EPA Proposing to Lower RFS Blending Requirements for 2021 The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to urge the White House to lower biofuel blending mandates below 2020 levels. However, the proposal will increase renewable volume obligations in 2022. EPA is sending the proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Reuters first reported the proposed RVO levels Friday, as sources say the EPA is looking to align mandates with actual production levels, which have slumped during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the 2021 mandates are more than a year and a half delayed and were supposed to be released in November 2020, by the Trump administration. The mandate outlines the required amount of biofuels refiners must blend in their fuels. Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, released a reaction statement last week. Grassley says, “If the reports are true, then once again, the EPA is giving a gift to Big Oil and is playing games with the Renewable Fuel Standard law.” *********************************************************************************** U.S. Keeping Canada Border Closed Through September 21 The U.S. Homeland Security Department recently announced the continued closure of the U.S.-Canada border through September 21, citing COVID-19 concerns. The closure includes restrictions on non-essential travel at land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico but ensures the flow of essential trade and travel. Meanwhile, Canada opened the border earlier this month to non-essential travelers from the United States, and Canada boasts higher vaccination rates than the United States. U.S. Representative Brian Higgins, a Democrat from New York, serves as co-chair of both the Northern Border Caucus and the Canada – U.S. Interparliamentary Group. Higgins states, “There has not been enough attention placed on the value and opportunity that comes with restoring connections between our two nations.” Travel restrictions at land ports of entry between the United States and Canada were first implemented in March 2020. Higgins adds the extension “is beyond disappointing; it is hurtful both at a human and economic level.” *********************************************************************************** Rep. Bustos Visits Illinois Hog Farm, Tax, Labor Reform Discussed U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos visited with Illinois hog farmers and the Illinois Pork Producers Association last week. The Illinois Democrat discussed the upcoming budget reconciliation package and potential areas of concern to pork producers. During a farm visit, producers shared concerns with the possible elimination of the “step-up in basis,” as well as a new capital gains tax event at death. Additionally, producers discussed the need to reform the H-2A visa program, noting the severe shortfalls in available domestic labor. A recently updated Iowa State University study found that despite competitive wages and an expanding workforce, the U.S. pork industry continues to struggle with a labor shortage. The pork industry uses the H-2A visa program for specialized work, but cannot use the program for most labor needs because of its seasonal limitation. The National Pork Producers Council urges Congress to provide year-round access to the H-2A visa program without a cap. *********************************************************************************** First Giant Hornet Nest of 2021 Found in Washington State Agriculture officials found the first giant hornet nest of 2021 last week in Washington state. The nest, located near Blaine, Washington, is about a quarter-mile away from the first reported giant hornet spotting this year on August 11. A Washington state tracking team, along with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, located the nest. WSDA netted, tagged with a tracker and released three hornets. One hornet slipped out of the tracking device, another hornet was never located, and one eventually led the team to the nest. Entomologists will now develop their plans to eradicate the nest, happening this week. Asian giant hornets, also known as murder hornets, are not native to the United States. They are the world’s largest hornet and prey on honeybees and other insects. This is the first known nest found this year, and agriculture officials in the Pacific Northwest believe more are undiscovered. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Continue Slide The nation's average gas price declined for the second straight week, down 3.3 cents per gallon from a week ago to $3.14 per gallon. The national average now stands unchanged from a month ago and $1.01 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel is down 0.9 cents in the last week and stands at $3.27 per gallon. Gas Buddy's Patrick De Haan states, “Gasoline prices have started to slide over the last few days as oil prices have plunged, largely fueled by a continued global surge in COVID-19.” De Haan also notes concerns that fuel demand may shrink as more companies table return to work plans and the summer driving season comes to a close, and he expects the national average gas price to fall below $3 per gallon within the next few weeks. While Covid cases may eventually slow, OPEC has continued its plan to ramp up oil production every month until 2022, leaving oil under heavy selling pressure.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 24, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will be watching the latest forecasts and for any signs of export sales. Tuesday's only official report is for U.S. new home sales in July, due out at 9 a.m. CDT. The market is also interested in any news that might develop pertaining to a change in biofuels policy. Weather Clusters of storms over Minnesota will continue to move southeast this morning and more development is expected across the general vicinity later today as another system moves through the region. The active track across the north continues to produce rainfall. It may be too late for some to provide much help, but will help to ease the drought in the region for sure. South of the storms, heat and dryness will continue to stress filling crops.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 20, 2021 |


USDA Announces Improvements to the Dairy Safety Net The Department of Agriculture Announced details of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program Thursday. Through the program, USDA will provide $350 million in pandemic assistance payments to dairy farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic. The assistance is part of a larger package, including permanent improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program. USDA will contact eligible handlers and cooperatives to notify them of the opportunity to participate in the program. USDA will distribute payments to participating handlers within 60 days of entering into an agreement. The program is part of the $6 billion pandemic assistance USDA announced in March. Outside the pandemic assistance, USDA will also make improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program updating the feed cost formula. The change will be retroactive to January 2020 and is expected to provide additional retroactive payments of about $100 million for 2020 and 2021. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $26 Million in Biofuel Infrastructure The Department of Agriculture will invest $26 million to build infrastructure to expand the availability of higher-blend renewable biofuels by 822 million gallons annually in 23 states. Announced Thursday, USDA is making the awards under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. The funding will help increase the use of biofuels derived from U.S. agricultural products and prioritize climate-smart solutions, according to USDA. The announcement marks the one-year anniversary of the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. National Biodiesel Board’s Kurt Kovarik says, “Updating America's infrastructure to expand consumer access to low-carbon biodiesel and Bioheat fuel is a low-cost, high-return investment in meeting the nation's goals for near-term carbon reductions.” NBB adds that Biodiesel reduces carbon emissions on average by 74 percent and considerably cuts particulate matter and other criteria pollutant emissions. The combined projects will reduce the nation's carbon emissions by more than 7.2 million metric tons each year at a cost of less than $2.25 per ton. *********************************************************************************** EPA Chlorpyrifos Rule Revokes Crop Tolerances on Food and Animal Feed The Environmental Protection Agency announced this week it is revoking all “tolerances” for chlorpyrifos (Klohr-PEER-uh-fohs), which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food. The agency will issue a Notice of Intent to Cancel under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to cancel registered food uses of chlorpyrifos. EPA officials say the move “will help to ensure children, farmworkers, and all people are protected.” According to EPA's decision, growers must discontinue use of chlorpyrifos on registered food crops within six months. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duval responded, “This administration has repeatedly made commitments to abide by science, yet the EPA decision on chlorpyrifos strays from that commitment and takes away an important tool to manage pests and insects.” And Agricultural Retailers Association President and CEO Daren Coppock states, “By issuing this mandate, and EPA not fighting it, anti-pesticide activists have executed an end run around the statute that is supposed to govern these decisions.” *********************************************************************************** New Website Offers Regenerative Agriculture Resources The University of Missouri Thursday announced a new website focused on regenerative agriculture topics. Regenerative agriculture has sparked considerable interest over the last few years, offering a toolbox of practices that aim to increase soil health, protect water quality, and enhance conservation approaches on farms. Major food and agriculture companies such as General Mills, Bayer, Walmart, Cargill, Corteva, Pepsico, Unilever, and even clothing companies like Wrangler have recently prioritized regenerative agricultural practices. The website aims to allow farmers, landowners, farm advisors, and even consumers to access a wide range of information on regenerative agriculture practices and concepts. Kelly Wilson of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture states, “The new site offers resources for different levels of expertise, so that different people can learn about practices and target outcomes associated with regenerative agriculture.” Visit the website at cra.missouri.edu and sign up for the Center’s newsletter to receive monthly updates on what’s happening in regenerative agriculture. *********************************************************************************** AgriSafe Launches New Website to Support Safety for Farmers and Ranchers The AgriSafe Network recently launched a new website focused on health topics for farmers and ranchers. The website, announced Thursday, integrates AgriSafe’s learning management system that includes fact sheets, webinars, and safety information for health professionals with health topics. The Health Topics page of the website is designed to help farmers and ranchers navigate occupational risks and servers as a trusted and reliable information on health and safety issues. Additionally, the website includes a “Learning Opportunities” section which features content produced by AgriSafe for health and safety professionals and rural healthcare providers. An AgriSafe spokesperson states, “This new space serves as a hub for the people working in agriculture to find specific information to their needs.” Agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. AgriSafe represents health and safety professionals who strive to reduce health disparities found among the agricultural community. For more information, visit www.agrisafe.org. *********************************************************************************** Farm Journal Acquires United Pork Americas Farm Journal this week acquired the international United Pork Americas conference and trade show. For the past two decades, more than 150,000 international swine producers, veterinarians and industry stakeholders have experienced the event, Pork Expo Brazil. An extension of Pork Expo Brazil, the United Pork Americas conference, is set for April 19-21, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida. Farm Journal’s Cliff Becker states, “We're excited to invest in the tools that pork industry stakeholders need to prosper in an ever-increasing global environment.” The United Pork Americas conference will feature an educational component with more than 50 internationally renowned speakers and sessions to provide educational opportunities for swine producers, veterinarians and industry stakeholders. It also will feature more than 28,000 square feet of Expo space, where domestic and international swine companies will have booths in an expansive trade show format to bring applicable information and resources to every facet of the pork production system.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 20, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets After Thursday's broad-based selling across the commodity board, traders may be a little jumpy and will be watching for any news of coronavirus infections and how it relates to numerous shipping problems currently occurring. The latest weather forecasts remain important with rain headed to the northwestern Midwest. USDA's August 1 cattle on-feed report at 2 p.m. CDT is the only significant report scheduled for Friday. Weather A system pulling out of the Rockies will continue to produce scattered showers and thunderstorms across the Western Corn Belt Friday, benefiting filling corn and soybeans. Some of these storms may be severe as well. Hot temperatures ahead of the system are falling rapidly behind it. More showers and thunderstorms will be possible across the South and Southeast as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 19, 2021 |


USDA Reports on Farm Computer Usage and Ownership The Department of Agriculture Wednesday released the 2021 Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report. The report is conducted every other year and presents data on farm computer usage, including computer access, ownership or leasing, farm business use, and internet access. The findings show that 82 percent of farms reported having access to the internet, with 98 percent paying for access. In 2021, 29 percent of farms used the internet to purchase agricultural inputs, which increased five percent from 2019. Additionally, 21 percent of farms used the internet to market agricultural activities, increasing two percent from 2019. In 2021, 50 percent of internet-connected farms utilized a broadband connection, while 70 percent of internet-connected farms had access through a cellular data plan. Additionally, 67 percent of farms had a desktop or laptop computer, while 77 percent of farms had a smartphone. USDA collected the data as part of the June Agricultural Survey. *********************************************************************************** Steakhouses Struggling to Recover from COVID-19 Steakhouses are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as the Delta variant of the virus expands, and beef prices are moving higher. Top steakhouses that provide a dining experience and high-priced cuts of beef see the Delta variant as a possible threat to travelers and group events. Several chains say they are better prepared amid the pandemic this year since adding outdoor dining and home delivery, should the latest surge or new government restrictions scare diners away again, according to Reuters. However, sales at high-end chains peaked last month before falling slightly to start August. Meanwhile, government data shows wholesale beef prices are up 40 percent from this time last year. Industry consultant Martin Knapp told Reuters, "We won't get the lift we had expected before the magnitude of the Delta variant came through.” However, the potential of booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine could help as soon as next month. *********************************************************************************** Groups Ask Lowe’s, Home Depot to Pull Roundup from Shelves A coalition of consumer, health and environmental groups call on Lowe’s and Home Depot to remove Roundup from store shelves. The groups, including Friend of the Earth, claim consumers can’t wait, urging the stores to remove the products now. Bayer last month announced long-term risk mitigation actions to prevent further litigation regarding Roundup. The plan calls for replacing its glyphosate-based products in the U.S. residential lawn and garden market with new formulations that rely on alternative active ingredients beginning in 2023. Bayer’s decision only applies to consumer markets, as the company will continue selling glyphosate-based formulas for agricultural and professional use. Bayer also asked the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit Hardeman decision this week. The Petition states that the Ninth Circuit’s lenient standard “has distorted [existing law] beyond recognition, and blurs the boundaries between science and speculation with a third category called ‘art,’ or unsupported intuitions purportedly rooted in clinical experience.” *********************************************************************************** Researchers Explore Climate, Human and Wildlife Interactions on Rangeland Researchers in the West are exploring the combined effect of wolves and drought, humans, plants and animals on rangeland in Idaho and Oregon. The University of Idaho is leading the five-year effort. Funded by a $1.6 million National Science Foundation grant, researchers will monitor six sites to learn how drought could affect vegetation in the region and how resulting changes impact elk, deer and livestock, as well as their interactions with predators. Scientists will also explore on a broad scale what effect wolves and drought jointly have on ranching communities. Researcher Sophie Gilbert states, "We'll look at the interactions between wolves and drought and how those affect wild ungulate populations, as well as livestock and the people who live there." The research also seeks to determine how decision-makers respond to these multiple sources of stress, and how wildlife and plant forecasting tools resulting from the project, are received and used by ranchers and wildlife managers. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Costs for Organic Certification Organic producers and handlers can now apply for Department of Agriculture funds to assist with the cost of receiving or maintaining organic certification. Applications for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program are due November 1, 2021. Announced this week, the funds provide cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under USDA’s National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent during 2021 and any subsequent program year. Producers can be reimbursed for expenses made between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021. For 2021, the program will reimburse 50 percent of a certified operation’s allowable certification costs, up to a maximum of $500 for each category of crops, wild crops, livestock, processing, and state program fees. Organic farmers and ranchers may apply through an FSA county office or a participating state agency. *********************************************************************************** Avoid Foodborne Illness During Temporary Power Outages USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is reminding consumers to avoid foodborne illnesses during temporary power outages. The agency Wednesday cited Department of Energy data that found weather-related power outages are up by 67 percent since 2000. With high temperatures this summer, energy consumption is high, which may cause some power grids to experience blackouts, an unexpected loss of power lasting minutes, hours or days. Electricity providers will either ask customers to voluntarily conserve energy at home, or they will schedule a reduced flow of electricity — a brownout — to certain areas of the grid to prevent a complete blackout. If your home experiences a temporary power outage, FSIS says monitor fridge and freezer temperatures. Make sure the refrigerator temperature is at 40 F or below and the freezer is at 0 F or below. Most fridges will keep food safe for up to four hours, while a freezer can keep food safe up to 48 hours.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 19, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. An index of U.S. leading indicators in July is set for 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly report on natural gas inventory at 9:30. USDA's monthly report on Milk Production will be out at 2 p.m. CDT. Weather In addition to scattered showers continuing around the South, a system is starting to move out of the Rockies and into the Northern Plains. This system is expected to produce fairly widespread showers on Thursday and Friday across the Western Corn Belt. All rainfall would be helpful for filling corn and soybeans.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 18, 2021 |


Biofuel and Farm Groups File Petition for Rehearing of D.C. Circuit RVP Decision Biofuel and farm groups filed a petition for rehearing with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the recent American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers vs. EPA decision. The court decision vacated a 2019 regulation allowing year-round sales of a fifteen percent ethanol fuel blends. The petition asks the full court to rehear the case because of significant legal errors in the three-judge panel's decision, handed down on July 2. Announced Tuesday, Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association filed the petition. Together, the three national organizations stated, “If allowed to stand, this court’s decision to vacate EPA’s rulemaking to allow E15 to be sold year-round will have devastating consequences for the market expansion of homegrown biofuels.” The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a 2019 rule by the Environmental Protection Agency that lifted restrictions on the sale of E15. The case was a challenge by oil refiners to the rulemaking that allowed the year-round sale of E15. *********************************************************************************** Comment Period Closes on NCBA Product of USA Petition The comment period just closed on a petition to change "Product of USA" labeling to "Processed in the USA" by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Comments closed Tuesday on the petition announced in June and submitted to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. NCBA calls “Product of USA” labeling “a disservice to American consumers and cattle producers alike,” suggesting the claim implies that a beef product is entirely of U.S. origin. Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, charged a flurry of comments before the deadline, after announcing his opposition to the proposal, with several following comments supporting his take. In comments submitted Friday, Rounds states, "If FSIS adopts NCBA’s proposal, consumers would have to sacrifice knowing where their beef comes from only to merely know where their beef is processed.” Rounds, agreeing with NCBA the “Product of USA” label is misleading, adds the “Processed in the USA” label “woefully undermines the purpose of the label in the first place.” *********************************************************************************** Scott, Bishop, Asks USTR to Tackle EU Trade Barriers for Peanuts Top House Agriculture lawmakers want the U.S. Trade Representative's Office to resolve an issue regarding European Union aflatoxin testing in peanuts. House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott and House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Chair Sanford Bishop sent a letter on the matter to USTR this week. The Georgia lawmakers say the non-tariff trade barrier impacts"American peanut farmers and the entire U.S. peanut industry." Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring contaminant that affects a variety of crops, including peanuts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration established a maximum threshold for aflatoxin of 15 parts per billion for raw peanuts and 20 parts per billion for peanut products. However, the EU enforces an extra level of testing at European ports and maintains thresholds for aflatoxin that range from as low as two parts per billion to 15 parts per billion. The U.S. peanut industry estimates approximately $170 million in lost sales in recent years because of the strict testing requirements. *********************************************************************************** USDA Expanding Importation of Fresh Citrus Fruit from Australia The Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday the expansion of the production areas in Australia authorized to import fresh citrus fruit into the United States. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service also revised the conditions under which citrus from Australia may be imported. Currently, imports of fresh citrus fruit are allowed into the United States from three Australian regions, but the announcement adds three additional approved regions. APHIS scientists prepared a pest risk assessment and a commodity import evaluation document to identify phytosanitary measures to safely import citrus without introducing pests. The citrus fruit must either originate from an approved production area that is free of Queensland fruit fly, Mediterranean fruit fly, and/or Lesser Queensland fruit fly, or be treated with cold treatment or other approved treatment. Based on the findings of a pest risk analysis, APHIS determined that the application of one or more outlined phytosanitary measures will sufficiently mitigate the risks of plant pests and noxious weeds. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $69 Million to Support Critical Food and Nutrition Security Needs The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced a $69 million investment to address the food and nutrition needs of low-income communities. Twenty awards totaling $61.5 million are for Nutrition Incentive Grants, and 15 awards totaling $7.5 million are for Produce Prescription Grants. The grants are all part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program COVID Relief and Response grants program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack states the funding "will help households in communities across the country, many hard-hit by the pandemic and the resulting economic challenges, be better equipped to purchase healthy fruits and vegetables.” USDA says the funding also enhances the resilience of food and healthcare systems impacted by the pandemic. As part of the funding, California’s Nutrition Incentive Program will receive $6.3 million to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants purchase fresh and healthy food. And Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation in Kentucky will receive $619,000 to provide SNAP participants extra incentives to purchase fresh produce. *********************************************************************************** Haaland, Vilsack, Announce New Pay Initiatives for Wildland Firefighters Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced the implementation of President Biden’s pay initiatives to support federal wildland firefighters. The initiatives will increase the amount paid to approximately 3,500 firefighters with the Department of the Interior and more than 11,300 firefighters at the USDA Forest Service to ensure all firefighters are paid at least $15 an hour. Secretary Vilsack states, “Supporting our brave firefighters with pay, benefits and career opportunities that reflect the importance and danger of the work that they do is critical to facing the mounting wildfire threat.” Interior currently employs roughly 5,000 wildland firefighters across the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service. Approximately 3,500 of those employees will receive $7.6 million under these initiatives. The USDA Forest Service employs 14,500 wildland firefighters and, under these initiatives, more than 11,300 will receive an additional $24.3 million.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 18, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets We will have housing starts and the Federal Open Market Committee minutes out after the close. Trade will also be watching for updated Corn Belt weather forecasts and more soybean purchases by China. Weather Scattered showers will continue across the south Wednesday. Moderate to heavy rain is also moving through the eastern Midwest in association with the remnants of Fred. Hot and humid weather will continue to be the theme for the Western Corn Belt for another day while a storm that will bring relief builds in the Rockies. The heat will continue to negatively impact filling corn and soybeans where drought exists.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 17, 2021 |


USDA Updates SNAP Benefits The Department of Agriculture Monday released a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, used to calculate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits. As a result, the average SNAP benefit – excluding additional funds provided as part of pandemic relief – will increase more than 20 percent for Fiscal Year 2022. As directed by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill, and with the expressed support of President Biden’s January 22 Executive Order – USDA conducted a review of the Thrifty Food Plan. The resulting cost adjustment is the first time the purchasing power of the plan has changed since it was first introduced in 1975, reflecting notable shifts in the food marketplace and consumers’ circumstances. The evaluation concluded that the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost-effective diet is 21 percent higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan. As a result, the average SNAP benefit, excluding additional funds provided as part of pandemic relief, will increase by $36.24 per person, per month. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack, Tai, Meet with Ag Policy Advisory Committee Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai released a statement following a meeting with the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee last week. Ambassador Tai detailed how the Biden-Harris Administration’s trade agenda aligns with the objectives of the agricultural sector. The Ambassador discussed how USTR is working to support the ability of U.S. agricultural producers to expand access to foreign markets and a new customer base, according to the statement. Secretary Vilsack emphasized the importance of promoting exports and finding new overseas markets, and that agricultural trade is tied to the health of rural economies. Vilsack provided an overview of priorities, including trade with China, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement implementation, and trade with the EU. The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is managed jointly by the Department of Agriculture and USTR. The committee includes various leaders of commodity and farm groups and agribusiness organizations, focused on ensuring U.S. trade policy and trade negotiating objectives reflect U.S. public- and private-sector interests. *********************************************************************************** Shipments of Plant-Based Proteins to Pizza Restaurants up 56 Percent Pizza has repeatedly ranked in the top foods ordered at U.S. restaurants. According to The NPD Group, in the quarter ending June 2021, there were 1.2 billion servings of pizza ordered, up four percent from the same quarter last year. Units of plant-based protein and ingredients shipped from foodservice distributors to pizza operators increased by 56 percent in the second quarter compared to a year ago, reports NPD. Research shows that about 20 percent of consumers want to increase the amount of plant-based proteins they consume, and this sentiment has held steady throughout the pandemic. Pizzas enable chefs and operators to easily customize with plant-based ingredients beginning with cauliflower crusts. Shipments of cauliflower dough and crusts to pizza operators increased by 46 percent in the quarter ending June compared to the same quarter year ago. Unit shipments of plant-based proteins to pizza operators, like Italian sausage, chicken, and imitation beef, grew by double-digits in the quarter. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Ease as Oil Falls The nation’s average gas price declined 0.5 cents per gallon from a week ago to $3.17 per gallon, while the average price of diesel fell a penny in the last week and stands at $3.28 per gallon. The average gas price is unchanged from a month ago and $1.01 per gallon higher than a year ago. Gas Buddy’s Patrick De Haan states, “As the number of Covid cases continues to surge globally, oil prices continue to be under pressure due to some countries instituting travel and movement limitations,” as oil has continued to see heavy selling pressure. With the U.S. summer driving season ending and with additional high-profile companies delaying their return-to-office plans, there is some level of anxiety that fuel demand will trail off into the autumn as OPEC continues to raise oil production, leading prices to crumble. U.S. retail gasoline demand fell slightly after reaching its highest level of 2021 last week. *********************************************************************************** Farm Credit’s Commitment to Young, Beginning and Small Farmers Grew in 2020 Farm Credit institutions increased their support of young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers across the country in 2020. The Farm Credit Administration reported the increase last week. In 2020, Farm Credit made 65,800 loans to producers whose age was less than 36 years, compared to 49,100 in 2019 and 46,680 in 2018. Similarly, the dollar amount of loans outstanding to young farmers grew to $33.6 billion at yearend 2020 compared to $31 billion at yearend 2019. Over the past three years, Farm Credit made more than 160,000 loans to young agricultural producers for $33.7 billion. Meanwhile, over the past three years, Farm Credit made nearly a quarter of a million loans to ag producers with ten years or less of experience to help them get started in production agriculture. And, at the end of 2020, nearly half, 49.8 percent, of all loans outstanding in the Farm Credit System were to ag producers with less than $250,000 in farm sales. *********************************************************************************** 2022 Farmers' Almanac Released This Week The 2022 Farmers' Almanac hits store shelves this week and contains 184 pages of helpful tips, calendars, and guides to help you plan your year ahead. It also features weather forecasts for the next 16 months, plus useful advice on ways to take cues from nature to live a more sustainable lifestyle. editor Pete Geiger states, “we encourage readers to take time to head outdoors and reconnect with the environment by growing their own food, shopping locally, and using natural remedies whenever possible." But even though "farmers" is in the title, the publication reaches far beyond them. The Almanac and its readers have evolved. No longer does the Farmers' Almanac contain husbandry tips for farm animals, but it does suggest the best days to cut your hair and lawn to increase growth, quit a bad habit, grow basil, and brew beer. Learn more online at FarmersAlmanac.com

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 17, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. retail sales for July is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by July industrial production at 8:15 a.m. Traders will be watching the latest weather forecasts and considering Monday afternoon's Crop Progress numbers. Traders will also watch to see if there is a ninth consecutive soybean export sale announcement at 8 a.m. CDT. Weather Tropical Depression Fred and its eventual remnant low will bring heavy rainfall to the Southeast Tuesday. More scattered showers will be found along the southern tier of the country as well as the eastern tier. Hot and dry weather continues in the Northern Plains as a system builds into the Rockies. The region will have to wait until Thursday to see relief from the heat and dryness.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 16, 2021 |


Farmland Values Soar in Chicago Fed District Despite COVID-19 Strong commodity prices and continued government assistance are pushing farmland values up by 14 percent in the Central Midwest and 10 percent in the Central Plains. An Illinois farm banker surveyed by the Chicago Fed says, “Government payments have given a boost to the ag sector.” In its quarterly ag newsletter, the Chicago Fed says farmland values in the Seventh District climbed 14 percent on a year-over-year basis in the second quarter of 2021, their largest gain in eight years. Values are expected to climb even higher during the third quarter of the year because seven of every ten bankers are forecasting higher District farmland values during the July through September period this year, while 30 percent forecast stable values. The values for “good” agricultural land moved three percent higher in the second quarter, according to a survey of 152 bankers in the district. All five district states in the Chicago survey showed double-digit year-over-year gains in their agricultural land values, even though too few Michigan bankers responded to the survey to report a numerical change in farmland value. *********************************************************************************** Court Partially Upholds Iowa’s “Ag-Gag” Law A divided panel of judges partially upheld Iowa’s ‘ag-gag” law first put in place in 2012. The Des Moines Register says that decision came last week at the same time a coalition of animal rights groups filed another lawsuit challenging a follow-up law that passed in 2021. Iowa has now passed four state statutes that target animal rights activists who are working to publish videos and pictures from inside large livestock facilities, often after getting hired there as employees. The laws created criminal offenses for people who “obtain access to an agriculture production facility by false pretenses” or “makes a false statement or representation” in the course of an employment application if the person intends to commit any unauthorized actions like videotaping if they get hired. The 2012 law was the first to pass and was immediately challenged in court by several organizations, including Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Three more laws passed in Iowa after that, with the most recent one going into effect in April. The new lawsuit filed by many of the same organizations challenging the first three laws seeks to strike down the fourth law too. *********************************************************************************** Legislation Designed to Improve Livestock Assistance North Dakota Republican John Hoeven and Montana Democrat Jon Tester introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate to improve livestock disaster assistance. The Hagstrom Report says the bill is designed to accomplish several things, including aligning coverage between the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP). It will also increase producer assistance under LFP to compensate them more accurately for feed costs, specify transportation costs for feed and water as covered losses under ELAP, and make those program improvements permanent. “Our livestock producers are facing real challenges during this drought,” Hoeven says, “Our bipartisan legislation makes common-sense improvements to the Livestock Forage and Emergency Livestock Assistance Programs to better meet the needs of those with boots on the ground.” Hoeven is the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and Tester also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee. They both say that ranchers are “really up against it” and are doing all they can to help them through this severe weather. Tester says, “The devastating drought has touched every corner of Montana and put a real hurt on livestock producers in our state.” *********************************************************************************** Sorghum Industry Partners with the University of California to Advance Sorghum The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is partnering with the University of California and its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to advance the sorghum industry. The five-year partnership will promote drought resilience in sorghum and increase demand for the cereal crop in the biofuel and bioproduct markets. While the research will be conducted in California, the results will benefit sorghum producers throughout the country. “We are excited to launch such a unique program aimed at helping address the world’s pressing water issues while at the same time increasing demand for a drought-tolerant crop like sorghum,” says Norma Ritz Johnson, USCP executive director. “The program is in perfect alignment with the Sorghum Checkoff’s goal of increasing producer profitability as drought and water scarcity is a challenge faced by most sorghum producers in the U.S.” In addition, Johnson says with the recent focus on renewable energy production, promoting a versatile crop like sorghum in biofuel and bioproduct markets is a timely endeavor. Key activities will include breeding, gene discovery, phenotyping, and research related to the impacts of roots, soil microbes, photosynthesis, and management on drought resilience. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Welcomes CHS as New Producer Plant Member Growth Energy, the world’s biggest ethanol trade association, announced that CHS is its newest producer plant member. The addition brings Growth Energy’s membership to a total of 91 producer plant members and 8.8 billion gallons represented out of the total U.S. annual ethanol production. CHS has been a premier ethanol marketer, trader, and producer of renewable fuels for more than forty years. They produce 260 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol and market one billion gallons of ethanol every year, making CHS one of the nation’s largest suppliers of ethanol-enhanced gasoline and the largest U.S. retailer of E85 ethanol. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says they’re thrilled to welcome CHS to their growing powerhouse list of Growth Energy producer plant members. “As a whole, CHS has already contributed so much to our industry as an associate member of Growth Energy, having just announced the sale of E15 at 19 more Midwest terminals through its refining business,” Skor says. A release from CHS says, “We value working together for shared success, and we look forward to active participation in Growth Energy and its efforts to advance pro-biofuels policies and expand consumer access to higher ethanol blends.” *********************************************************************************** Corn Export Sales Jump While Wheat Sales Decline The USDA says corn sales for the 2020-2021 marketing year that ends on August 31 jumped while wheat sales declined. Sales of corn for offshore delivery totaled 377,600 metric tons in the seven days ending on August 5. That’s up noticeably from the previous week and the prior four-week average. Mexico was the big buyer at 144,500 metric tons, followed by Japan and Venezuela. The total would have been higher, but an unknown country canceled cargoes totaling 76,800 metric tons. Sales for delivery in the next marketing year totaled just shy of 602,000 metric tons. Exports for the week dropped 25 percent to 1.06 million metric tons. Wheat sales for delivery during the marketing year that began on June 1 fell to 293,000 metric tons, five percent lower week-to-week and 32 percent lower than the prior four-week average. An unknown country bought 98,600 metric tons, followed by Japan and Venezuela. Exports for the week hit a marketing-year high of 627,900 tons. Soybean sales in the current marketing year came in at 96,900 metric tons, up from the prior week and the previous four-week average. China was the top buyer at 84,500 metric tons. For the next marketing year, sales totaled 1.12 million metric tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 16, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts and rainfall totals. USDA's weekly grain export inspections report is set for 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Spring wheat harvest progress and crop ratings will be noticed, but crop ratings tend to lose their price impact after the August WASDE report. Weather Scattered showers will continue across the southern half of the country Monday while heat builds in the Northern Plains. Tropical Storm Fred is set to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle later today, bringing heavy rainfall to southeastern states into the middle of the week. Flooding of some cotton fields that are in really good shape is possible.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 13, 2021 |


USDA Releases August WASDE Report The much-anticipated August World Agriculture Supply and Demand report sent crop prices slightly higher Thursday. The monthly report from the Department of Agriculture expects lower corn supplies, reduced feed and residual use, increased food, seed, and industrial use, lower exports, and smaller ending stocks. The season’s first survey-based corn yield forecast, at 174.6 bushels per acre, is 4.9 bushels below last month’s trend-based projection. The season-average corn price received by producers increased 15 cents to $5.75 per bushel. U.S. soybean supply and use changes include higher beginning stocks and lower production, crush, and exports. Soybean production is forecasted at 4.34 billion bushels, down 66 million on lower yields. The survey-based soybean yield forecast of 50.0 bushels per acre is down 0.8 bushels from last month. The season-average soybean price is $13.70 per bushel, unchanged from last month. The U.S. wheat outlook projects reduced supplies, lower domestic use, unchanged exports, and decreased ending stocks. The projected season-average farm price increased $0.10 per bushel to $6.70. *********************************************************************************** Ag Credit Survey: Strong Farm Economy Supports Ag Credit Conditions A sharp turnaround in agricultural economic conditions and lasting support from government programs is boosting farm income and loan repayment rates. Both increased from a year ago at the fastest pace on record. The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank released its quarterly Ag Credit survey Thursday. The survey shows the improvement in farm finances eased credit issues and contributed to softer demand for farm loans. With support from a strong farm economy and historically low interest rates, farm real estate values rose ten percent from a year ago, the largest increase since 2013. The outlook for profit opportunities in 2021 remains strong for most farmers as commodity prices remained well above recent years. Conditions in the cattle industry remained somewhat weaker, however, and drought continued to hinder conditions for some farmers and ranchers. Nearly all banks in the KC Fed district reported that production expenses for crop and livestock producers increased, and cash rental rates also increased, which could pressure margins going forward. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Industry Commits to Climate Neutrality by 2040 The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Thursday solidified U.S. cattle ranchers’ commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability with the release of U.S. cattle industry sustainability goals. The goals call for demonstrating climate neutrality of U.S. cattle production by 2040. NCBA past president Marty Smith says, “By setting goals, we’re publicly committing to continuous improvement and setting targets that allow us to measure and document those efforts.” The goals also seek to create and enhance opportunities that result in a quantifiable increase in producer profitability and economic sustainability by 2025, and enhance trust in cattle producers as responsible stewards of their animals and resources by expanding educational opportunities in animal care and handling programs to further improve animal well-being. The goals are the culmination of a grassroots, rancher-led process through the Sustainability Goals Task Force formed this year. The task force evaluated the current state of U.S. beef cattle sustainability, and determined which improvements are most critical. *********************************************************************************** R-CALF Issues Rebuke on Call for Regional Cash Market Minimums A document sent to the Senate Agriculture Committee from R-CALF calls for mandating large packing plants to purchase at least 50 percent of their cattle needs from negotiated cash cattle markets. Announced Thursday, R-CALF USA says the white paper provides real-time evidence that varying minimum cash cattle purchase requirements region-to-region will allow major beef packers to continue denying timely market access to independent cattle feeders. The document is titled, “Why a 50 percent National Negotiated Cash Volume Is Needed and Why That Volume Should Not Vary Region by Region.” The group’s paper provides the example of at least one Iowa cash cattle seller who was informed that one major packer was out of the market for five weeks and another was reducing Iowa cash cattle purchases. By mandating that all large packing plants purchase at least 50 percent of their cattle needs from negotiated cash cattle markets, the group says Congress can ensure that independent cattle producers located everywhere have access to a competitive market. *********************************************************************************** European Commission Delays Certificate Regulation, Protecting U.S. Dairy Exports The European Commission this week decided to extend the implementation deadline for its new health certificate requirements to January 15, 2022. The International Dairy Foods Association says the announcement backs off on threats to shut down U.S. dairy exports to EU member states as well as transshipments of U.S. dairy products through the European Union. IDFA and U.S. officials considered the certificate requirements—requiring animal health monitoring and veterinarian sign-off, among other requirements—to be burdensome and in conflict with international standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health. IDFA says the EC's extension provides U.S. and European officials with enough time to complete their discussions and determine appropriate implementation procedures for U.S. exports. IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes states, “We are grateful for the support and intervention of the Biden Administration to resolve this matter and hope the U.S. government will continue working with IDFA to help U.S. dairy gain access to the EU market.” *********************************************************************************** Food Prices Increase Again in July Food prices rose again in July, according to the latest Consumer Price Index. The food index increased 0.7 percent in July as five of the major grocery store food group indexes rose, and the food away from home index increased 0.8 percent. The index for food at home also rose 0.7 percent, as the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs continued to increase. The index for cereals and bakery products, which declined in June, rose 1.2 percent in July, its largest one-month increase since April 2020. The index for other food at home rose 0.8 percent in July, also the largest monthly increase since April 2020. The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.7 percent in July, and the index for dairy and related products advanced 0.6 percent. The index for fruits and vegetables was the only major grocery store food group index to fall in July, declining 0.9 percent after rising 0.7 percent in June. The index for fresh fruits fell 1.8 percent over the month.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 13, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index is due out at 9 a.m. CDT and is the only significant report scheduled for Friday the 13th. Traders will continue to watch over the latest forecasts and digest Thursday's new estimates from USDA. Traders will also watch at 8 a.m. CDT to see if USDA announces a seventh consecutive export sale for new-crop soybeans. Weather An active frontal boundary from the Central Plains through the southern Midwest will remain active as it pushes south Friday. Moderate to heavy rainfall will be possible along the front in these areas while it continues to dry out farther north.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 12, 2021 |


CattleFax Forecasts Record Beef Demand; Prospects for Tighter Supplies The beef cattle industry is bouncing back from the pandemic, and continued progress is expected in 2022. Beef prices are near record high, and consumer and wholesale beef demand are both at 30-year highs as the U.S. and global economy recover. While drought remains a significant concern, strong demand, combined with higher cattle prices, signal an optimistic future for the beef industry, according to CattleFax. The popular CattleFax Outlook Seminar, held as part of the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, shared expert market and weather analysis Wednesday. According to CattleFax CEO Randy Blach, the cattle market is still dealing with a burdensome supply of market-ready fed cattle. The influence of that supply will diminish as three years of herd liquidation will reduce feedyard placements. As this occurs, the value of calves, feeder cattle and fed cattle will increase several hundred dollars per head over the next few years. *********************************************************************************** Senate Confirms Moffitt for USDA Post The U.S. Senate Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Jenny Moffitt as Agriculture Department undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says, “Moffitt brings a wealth of experience and a unique perspective as both a farmer and a policy maker.” The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on Moffitt’s nomination on July 15, 2021, and voted to advance her out of the committee with bipartisan support. President Biden nominated Moffitt for the position in April. She most recently served as undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture and previously served as deputy secretary for the agency. Ranking Senate Ag member John Boozman of Arkansas adds he believes Moffitt “will work in good faith to carry out the regulatory authorities for which she will be responsible in a manner that is consistent with congressional intent.” Moffitt will oversee USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Agency and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Agency. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $167 Million in High-Speed Broadband in 12 States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced the Department of Agriculture is investing $167 million in 12 states to deploy broadband infrastructure. The investment focuses on rural areas without sufficient access to high-speed internet. Secretary Vilsack says broadband “is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning and health care, and to stay connected.” The investments will benefit rural people in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. As part of the investment, Central Virginia Services Inc. will use a $14.1 million grant to deploy a fiber network in rural Virginia, and the Altamaha Electric Membership Corporation in Lyons, Georgia, will use a $10.6 million loan and a $10.6 million grant to deploy a fiber network in rural Georgia. USDA’s ReConnect Program provides the loans and grants to construct, improve or acquire facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Ag Tractor Sales Hold Steady in July, Gain in Canada Gains in larger and four-wheel-drive tractors offset smaller declines in the sub-40 horsepower range in the U.S., while Canadian farm tractor sales were positive in July. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 0.8 percent in July compared to 2020, while U.S. combine sales jumped 19.2 percent. The articulated four-wheel drive segment led the way for the third straight month by climbing 79.4 percent. Year-to-date farm tractor sales remain up 13.7 percent and combines up 12.6 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades states, “The story of these row-crop and articulated four-wheel-drive sales is a reflection of farmer optimism,” adding “farmers don’t make these sorts of investments without serious consideration of future market conditions.” For Canada, July monthly tractor and combine sales were positive across all segments, with the biggest growth in four-wheel-drive units nearly doubling, up 93.8 percent, while total farm tractor sales were up 14.8 percent and combines up 59.8 percent. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Introduce Ocean Shipping Reform Act House lawmakers this week Introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021. The bipartisan legislation is the first major update of federal regulations for the global ocean shipping industry since 1998. The legislation would support American exports by establishing reciprocal trade opportunities to help reduce the United States’ longstanding trade imbalance with China and other countries. South Dakota Republican Dusty Johnson and California Democrat John Garamendi introduced the legislation. The Congressmen serve together on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and announced their intention to pursue the legislation during a Subcommittee hearing on June 15, 2021. The bill seeks to establish reciprocal trade to promote U.S. exports as part of the Federal Maritime Commission’s mission and require ocean carriers to adhere to minimum service standards that meet the public interest, reflecting best practices in the global shipping industry, among other measures. The bill has large agriculture and transportation industry support. *********************************************************************************** Canadian Pacific Submits New Bid for Kansas City Southern Canadian Pacific Railway this week re-upped its offer to acquire Kansas City Southern in a stock and cash trade worth approximately $31 billion. The move comes as KCS shareholders are voting to approve a merger/transaction with Canadian National. Canadian Pacific claims their new offer is an alternate transaction recognizing the premium value of KCS while providing more regulatory certainty. The proposed transaction values KCS at $300 per share. Following the closing into a voting trust, common shareholders of KCS will receive 2.8 CP common shares and $90 in cash for each share of KCS common stock held. Canadian National, however, maintains its agreement is superior, under which KCS shareholders will receive $325 per common share, which implies a total enterprise value of $33.6 billion. However, there are many concerns regulators will not approve the KCS-CN agreement. Canadian Pacific says the two offers are substantially similar but claims their proposal offers significantly higher regulatory certainty.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 12, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, along with U.S. jobless claims, the producer price index for July and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's natural gas inventory report is due out at 9:30 a.m. At 11 a.m., USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports for August will be released with new U.S. crop estimates featured. Weather A frontal boundary will remain active across the southern Midwest with continued showers and thunderstorms. Some storms could be severe, but not to the extent we have seen the last couple of days. Hot and humid weather is found south of this front, which is stressing crops in some of the locally drier areas in the Central and Southern Plains and Delta.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 11, 2021 |


Ag Reacts to Senate Passage of Infrastructure Bill The U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure package that contains several important investments for agriculture. Several U.S. agricultural groups reacted positively to the news. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime investment in America’s infrastructure, and we are extremely pleased that it includes funding for priorities that are important to farmers and rural America,” says John Linder, President of the National Corn Growers Association. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “We appreciate the Senate for working together to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The pressing infrastructure issues facing our nation are too important to ignore, particularly in rural communities where modernization is desperately needed.” Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose says the investments in rural broadband will connect more communities. “The agriculture transport network will benefit from improved rural roadways and bridges, freight rail, inland waterways, and port facilities,” Van Hoose says. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the package is “a step in the right direction.” Among the key items in the bill are $17.3 billion for the nation’s ports and inland waterways. The legislation earmarks $65 billion for broadband internet access, including $2 billion specifically set aside for rural broadband. *********************************************************************************** IA, MN Senators Push for Pandemic Relief for Swine Producers Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Iowa Republicans, and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding assistance for swine producers. They want the USDA to make sure that swine producers and contract swine growers are eligible for the assistance Congress secured for them. The bipartisan push comes after the Biden administration didn’t mention assistance for pork producers during the Pandemic Assistance for Producers June or July announcements regarding the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program. “We’re concerned that USDA’s announcement on June 15 that described its intent to finalize this program within 60 days only focused on poultry growers and made no mention of providing assistance to contract swine growers,” the senators said in their letter. “Additionally, many pork producers have been waiting for USDA to roll out the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program swine top-up payments that were announced in January of this year.” Late last year, Congress passed a bipartisan COVID relief package that included assistance to contract livestock and poultry producers, as well as to agricultural producers, growers, processors, specialty crops, non-specialty crops, dairy, livestock, and poultry. On January 15, USDA announced Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 1 top-up payments for swine producers with approved CFAP 1 applications. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Industry Convention Underway in Nashville This Week The biggest annual beef industry gathering began on Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee, where more than 6,000 people got together for the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. Those in attendance include cattle producers, industry partners, and other industry stakeholders. “I’m pleased that cattlemen and women can come together in person once again,” says National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jerry Bohn. “Producers from across the country and their families look forward to the convention every year, but I think it means more following the disruptions brought on by COVID-19.” Convention participants will gain insights on market trends during the CattleFax Outlook Seminar, hear a “state of the industry” update from NCBA, learn about the cattle industry’s role in sustainability, and walk through the NCBA Trade Show that contains more than 350 exhibitors on seven acres. The NCBA, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National Cattlewomen, CattleFax, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation will all hold annual meetings. Two general sessions will include a panel discussion on sustainability and a speech from former NFL player Jason Brown, who left football for a career in agriculture. *********************************************************************************** GROWMARK and Indigo Combine to Expand Access to Carbon Markets GROWMARK, a farmer-owned cooperative, and Indigo Ag have announced a joint effort to spur participation in the growing market for agricultural carbon. The companies say because of this collaboration, GROWMARK SYSTEM’s network of retailers will help farmers navigate an increasingly complex soil carbon market and confidently get started on carbon farming through the only high-quality, third-party verified credit program in operation, called “Carbon by Indigo.” GROWMARK and Indigo will provide farmer-owners with the end-to-end support necessary to succeed in the agricultural carbon opportunity. Participating retailers will help farmers evaluate and enroll in “Carbon by Indigo” and implement beneficial farming practices proven to sequester carbon and abate greenhouse gas emissions. Indigo will leverage its capabilities for measuring and verifying on-farm environmental impact at scale to translate the effects of farmers’ efforts into a new source of revenue in the form of carbon credits. “The opportunity for farmers to benefit from public demand for high-quality carbon credits is tremendous,” says Mark Orr, Vice President of Agronomy with GROWMARK. “We’re proud to work with Indigo to provide our farmer partners with a simple and informed path to generate maximum revenue for their efforts.” *********************************************************************************** Grassley Wants Review of Cargill/Continental Grain Acquisition of Sanderson Farms Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division regarding the acquisition of Sanderson Farms by Cargill and Continental Grain Company. Grassley, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is asking the Justice Department to thoroughly examine the proposed acquisition and to consult with the USDA on its effect on the poultry industry. “At the closing of the transaction, Cargill and Continental Grain will combine Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer in the U.S., with Wayne Farms, currently a subsidiary of Continental Grain, to form a new poultry business,” Grassley says in the letter addressed to Richard Powers, Acting Assistant Attorney General. “According to industry analysts, a combined Cargill-Continental Grain-Sanderson Farms would control approximately 15 percent of the U.S. chicken market.” Grassley also says he’s concerned that continued mergers and acquisitions in an already concentrated poultry industry will increase consolidation, frustrate competition, reduce marketing options, and ultimately raise consumer prices. “I urge the Antitrust Division to thoroughly examine this proposed acquisition to preserve a competitive market in the U.S. poultry industry,” Grassley says. “I also urge the division to seek input from the USDA in its analysis of the proposed transaction and its impact on the poultry market.” *********************************************************************************** NBB Celebrates RFS Anniversary Last weekend marked the 16th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard, a policy that’s played a big role in decarbonizing America’s diesel fuel supply. On the heels of the anniversary, National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell (Duh-NELL) Rehagen noted the sustainable growth of the biodiesel industry under the RFS and urged policymakers to continue supporting future growth. “The RFS has been crucial to growing the advanced biofuel industry, and it will remain essential for future decarbonization efforts around the country,” Rehagen says. “The RFS supported the sustainable growth of a three-billion-gallon market for biodiesel and renewable diesel that has cut 143.8 million metric tons of carbon emissions over the past decade. We can’t afford to lose ground now.” He also says the policy should support the continued growth of advanced biofuels as the industry strives to reach six billion gallons by 2030. The RFS drives the development of advanced biofuels that reduce carbon emissions from some of the hardest economic sectors to decarbonize.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 11, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday's reports begin with the Labor Department's consumer price index for July, due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT and will add to the ongoing conversation about inflation. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is due out at 9:30 a.m. and will include ethanol production. The U.S. Treasury's budget for July will be announced at 1 p.m. Weather After an active severe weather day in the Midwest on Tuesday, another active day is expected Wednesday with the greatest probabilities centered around Lake Michigan. Another frontal boundary moving into the Midwest will be the culprit. Hot and humid weather will continue south of this front through much of the Midwest and Plains down to the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, cooler and drier air behind the front will ease stress for filling corn and soybeans.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 10, 2021 |


Ag, Biofuel, Call for DOE Analysis of Sustainable Aviation fuel Tax Credits Biofuel and agriculture groups call on lawmakers to provide an accountable life cycle analysis for sustainable aviation fuel tax credits. In an effort to decarbonize transportation and reduce aviation emissions, Congress is considering new legislation to establish a tax credit to promote and develop robust domestic sustainable aviation fuel production. The groups say in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, “We urge you to make the Department of Energy the lead agency in establishing a regularly updated Life Cycle Analysis for any sustainable aviation fuel credit.” The letter was signed by Growth Energy, the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and the Renewable Fuels Association. The letter also pointed out that carbon intensity estimates under the International Civil Aviation Organization for some sustainable aviation fuel sources are “wildly inaccurate and incorrectly penalized” and cannot be supported. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack, Tai, to Meet with USDA Ag Policy Committee Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will meet with the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee Friday. The committee, managed by the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, offers advice on U.S. trade policy. Topics include current and new trade deals, trade agreement implementation and concerns within the agreements. The committee consists of six technical advisory boards, including animals, fruits and vegetables, grains, processed foods, sweeteners and a final group focused on tobacco, cotton and peanuts. Committee members represent U.S. food and agriculture groups and major agribusinesses, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, along with Corteva, ADM, and others. The advisory committee system was created by the U.S. Congress in 1974 to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiating objectives adequately reflect U.S. public- and private-sector interests. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service provides administrative and other necessary support for the Committee. *********************************************************************************** Cargill and Continental Grain Purchasing Sanderson Farms Cargill and the Continental Grain Company Monday announced a joint-venture agreement to acquire Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer in the United States. The all-cash purchase totals $4.53 billion, or $203 per share, a 30.3 percent premium to Sanderson Farms’ share price of $155.74 on June 18, 2021. Cargill and Continental Grain will combine Sanderson Farms with Wayne Farms, a subsidiary of Continental Grain, to form a new, privately held poultry business. In a statement, Cargill says the combination of Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms will create a “best-in-class U.S. poultry company with a high-quality asset base, complementary operating cultures, and an industry-leading management team and workforce.” Chairman and CEO of Cargill David MacLennan says, “Expanding our poultry offerings to the U.S. is a key enabler of our ability to meet customer and consumer demands.” Operations will include poultry processing plants and prepared foods plants across Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. *********************************************************************************** Pro Farmer Crop Tour Next Week Pro Farmer scouts will fan out across the Corn Belt to measure this year's corn and soybean yield potential during the 29th annual Pro Farmer Crop Tour next week, August 15-19. The tour is an August ritual covering seven Midwestern states and capturing the attention of the industry and national media. Observations and results will be shared nightly at in-person events and live-streamed online. Pro Farmer Editor and Eastern Tour Director Brian Grete says, “Crop tour will give us a first-hand look at whether the good areas are enough to compensate for the poorer locations.” The event is the most thorough and most followed inspection of yield potential during a critical time in the growing season. A summary of findings from the tour will be presented nightly at 7 p.m. central time, through a live-streamed broadcast hosted by Clinton Griffiths, Tyne Morgan, Chip Flory and Brian Grete. Free registration is required and available at www.ProFarmer.com/register. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Beef and Pork Exports on Record Pace through June U.S. red meat exports closed the first half of the year on a strong note, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Although volume and value eased from April and May, export value was still the highest on record for the month of June, and first-half shipments established a record pace for both beef and pork. June beef exports totaled 112,200 metric tons, up 42 percent from a year ago when exports were still hampered by COVID-19 disruptions. Export value was $804.4 million, up 68 percent from a year ago and the third-highest on record. First-half exports reached over 700,000 metric tons, up 18 percent from a year ago. Pork exports reached 238,000 metric tons in June, up 15 percent from a year ago, while export value climbed 35 percent to $696.8 million. First-half pork exports topped last year's record pace by one percent at 1.58 million metric tons, valued at $4.33 billion. *********************************************************************************** AEM President Dennis J. Slater to Retire The Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater will retire at the end of the year, the organization announced late last week. The AEM Board of Directors has selected AEM’s Construction and Utility Sector Senior Vice President Megan Tanel to succeed Slater and serve as AEM President effective January 2022. Slater, 63, joined AEM’s predecessor, the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association in 1982, becoming president of CIMA in 1998 and president of the newly formed AEM in 2002, after a merger between CIMA and Equipment Manufacturers Institute. AEM Chair Chairman Steve Berglund says, “Through Dennis’ leadership and impressive contributions to the industry for nearly 40 years, AEM has built tremendous value and momentum for our members and the industry.” Tanel, 48, joined AEM in 1995 as an intern, becoming a full-time employee later that year. She quickly grew in leadership to her most recent position of Senior Vice President, Construction & Utility Sector.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 10, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Reports on U.S. productivity and unit labor costs are due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT and are the only official reports of the day. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts, any news of export sales and prepare for Thursday's WASDE report. Weather A frontal boundary moving into the Midwest is expected to produce scattered showers and thunderstorms, some possibly strong to severe. Showers will likely develop across the Central Plains as well. Outside of any severe weather, the rainfall will be good if it happens upon the northwest portions of the Midwest, which are still drier and could use the rainfall for filling corn and soybeans.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 9, 2021 |


Farm Bureau Supports Infrastructure Legislation The American Farm Bureau sent a letter to all 100 U.S. Senators expressing its support for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says modernizing the country’s transportation infrastructure continues to be a priority for their members. “That’s why we are supporting this bipartisan legislation,” Duvall says. “The investments in our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and inland waterways are not just necessary, but they are long overdue.” He also says this legislation provides critical investments that will expand broadband internet access and repair and upgrade aging western water infrastructure that is, in many cases, 50 to 100 years old and not adequate to meet today’s needs. “Our nation’s infrastructure gives America’s farmers and ranchers a competitive advantage and helps us move products from fields to consumers around the world,” he adds. “These investments will ensure we continue to safely and efficiently transport the agricultural and food products that our nation and world rely on.” Duvall is also grateful that the senators didn’t place the burden of these investments on American farmers and ranchers through increased tax rates or by eliminating the stepped-up basis. “We encourage the Senate to pass this investment in America’s future,” Duvall says. ********************************************************************************************** More Groups Say CAFÉ Standards Must Include Biofuels The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation proposed greenhouse gas standards to decarbonize light-duty vehicles. Those vehicles will include passenger cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks. The proposed rule would require automakers to meet more stringent fuel efficiency standards. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says for the proposed CAFÉ standards to effectively address climate change, the rule needs to include a pathway to increase the use of low-carbon, sustainable biofuels like ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. “We will be providing the Biden Administration a pathway forward that allows biofuels like ethanol to help us meet our climate goals,” Skor says. “Liquid fuels will continue to play an important role in the transportation sector, even as alternative technologies continue to flourish.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew points out that the transportation sector is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. “That makes it the central focus in climate mitigation efforts,” he says. “That’s why NFU is advocating for the use of high octane, low carbon fuels, including higher-level blends of ethanol.” *********************************************************************************************** Groups Want Biden to Restart Trade Talks with China Some of the most influential business groups in America want the White House to restart trade talks with China. The New York Times says they also want tariffs cut on goods imported from China. Those duties have been in place since the beginning of a trade war between the two nations. The groups represent diverse business interests, including potato farmers, microchip companies, and pharmaceuticals. In a letter to the Biden administration, they’re asking the president to work with the Chinese government to make sure it carries out commitments made in the Phase One Trade Agreement that China signed with the Trump Administration. The letter was addressed to the Treasury Department and the U.S. Trade Representative, and it comes as the relationship between the two largest economies in the world remains contentious. The administration is more than seven months into a review of the Phase One Trade Deal, as well as other national security measures put into place by the Trump Administration. Officials haven’t yet announced the results of the review. The January 2020 agreement between the U.S. and China kept U.S. tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports in place. Some provisions of the deal expire at the end of this year, but much of the agreement will stay in effect. ********************************************************************************************** Coffee Prices Continue to Climb Due to Frost, Shipping Costs Coffee prices are on the way up. Top coffee producer Brazil was hit hard by frost, and the record cost of freight brought on by COVID-19 causing massive shipping logjams will push prices to multi-year highs in the weeks to come. The worst cold snap in Brazil since 1994 sent the price of green coffee beans to the highest level in almost seven years. That increase will pass through the chain to consumers when they buy roasted beans or ground coffee in their local grocery stores. Reuters says crops in Brazil are wilting after the worst dry spell the country has seen in almost a century. The extent of the damage isn’t fully known yet, but in areas where coffee trees didn’t survive, it may take as many as seven years for production to fully rebound. The shipping problems are partly brought on by demand for consumer goods and not enough available ships as people stayed home during COVID. That’s led to a sharp rise in the cost of transporting beans to the major coffee-consuming countries in North America and Europe. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the average ground coffee prices rose to a peak of $4.75 per pound in April, 8.1 percent higher than last year and the highest level since 2015. ********************************************************************************************** Groups Call for Climate-Smart Investments, Including Broadband The National Milk Producers Federation and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives led a coalition of 12 agricultural and conservation organizations in a letter on investments. They’re advocating for significant new funding for climate-smart agricultural practices that can help farmers to build on their environmental stewardship leadership. The groups say much more can be done to enhance practices that can yield meaningful environmental benefits, such as climate-smart manure and feed management on dairy farms. “Bolstering conservation investment and focusing on climate-smart practices better positions dairy farmers to fulfill the dairy sector’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals as envisioned in the Net Zero Initiative,” says NMPF CEO Jim Mulhern. In addition to increased spending on conservation incentives, the organizations also support new rural broadband resources in pending infrastructure legislation. The letter also brings up the major concerns that many of its signers have already voiced regarding several proposed changes to tax policy that would undermine the transfer of family farms from one generation to the next. Other organizations signing on to the letter include the Ag Retailers Association, the American Seed Trade Association, the National Association of Conservation Districts, and many others. *********************************************************************************************** Land O’ Lakes Mid-Year Earnings Are Up Land O’ Lakes Incorporated reports year-to-date net sales totaling $8 billion, with net earnings of $236 million. That’s a year-over-year increase of nine percent in net sales. Dairy Reporter says during the same period a year ago, the company reported net sales of $7.3 billion and net earnings of $118 million. For the second quarter ending on June 30, 2021, the company reported net sales of $4 billion and net earnings of $100 million. That’s a 14 percent year-over-year net sales increase and a 22 percent increase in net earnings. Net sales growth reflects strength in crop inputs and animal nutrition and higher pricing across the portfolio to offset rising input and supply chain costs. “We are pleased that we’ve been able to maintain the strength and accelerate the momentum of last year’s performance,” says Land O’ Lakes CEO Beth Ford. “Despite increasing costs, the fundamentals of our industry remain favorable, and our differentiated approach has delivered a sustained performance in all business segments through the first half of the year.“ Ford also says the company recognizes that the third quarter could be the toughest year-over-year comparison in their historically smallest quarter. Earnings for the quarter were driven by strong performance in crop inputs with higher volumes and favorable product mix in crop protection and improved margins in crop nutrients.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 9, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Fresh back from the weekend, traders will be checking rainfall amounts and the latest weather forecasts. USDA's weekly grain export inspections report is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3:00 p.m. Good to excellent crop ratings likely showed further deterioration for corn and soybeans in the latest week. Weather A system in the Midwest is weakening but will continue bring showers and thunderstorms east of the Mississippi River on Monday. Another storm in the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies will bring scattered showers as well. In the U.S. the focus will be on North Dakota. Rainfall over the past few days has been beneficial for many of the drier areas of the Corn Belt, but there were some that have been missed. Monday gives those areas another shot.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 6, 2021 |


USDA Launching Market News Reports based on Livestock Mandatory Reporting The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced two new USDA Market News Reports based on Livestock Mandatory Reporting data. The reports will provide additional insight into formula cattle trades and help promote fair and competitive markets, and stems from a recent executive order on competition. USDA will release the first new report, the National Daily Direct Formula Base Cattle, this coming Monday, and the second report, the National Weekly Cattle Net Price Distribution, this coming Tuesday. The National Daily Direct Formula Base Cattle reports will enable producers to see the correlation between the negotiated trade and reported formula base prices. The weekly and monthly formula base reports will be both national and regional in scope and include forward contract base purchase information. The National Weekly Cattle Net Price Distribution report will show at what levels, price and volume, trade occurred across the weekly weighted average price for each purchase type – negotiated, negotiated grid, formula and forward contract. *********************************************************************************** Farm, Biofuels Groups: Biofuels Can Help Reach 2030 Zero-emission Vehicle Goals The White House Thursday announced an executive order that sets a new target to make half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 zero-emission vehicles. According to a White House fact sheet, the order also kicks off development of long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards to save consumers money, cut pollution, boost public health, advance environmental justice, and tackle the climate crisis. However, the effort lacks links to biofuels. Rural Voices USA Board President Chris Gibbs states, "The path ahead will also require a commitment to biofuels as an essential way to reduce emissions and support rural economies." The organization encourages President Joe Biden to renew his commitment to biofuels and upholding the Renewable Fuel Standard. Meanwhile, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says, “The overarching goal should be to reach net-zero emissions as quickly as possible without dictating the pathway to get there or putting all our eggs into one technology basket.” *********************************************************************************** Legislation Seeks to Block California Prop 12 Lawmakers Thursday introduced the Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression, or EATS Act, to prohibit states and local governments from interfering with agriculture products from other states. Specifically, the bill seeks to block California’s Proposition 12, which would require meat products raised outside of the state to conform to the animal rights standards adopted by California. The Republican Group of Senators introducing the bill features Iowa’s Chuck Grassley and Joni Erst, Roger Marshall of Kansas and John Cornyn of Texas. Grassley claims, “I don’t know why anyone would want to live in a state where it’s almost impossible to buy bacon, but California wants to impose such a rule on its residents.” The EATS Act will also challenge states from interfering in interstate commerce. However, state and local government units will still be able to regulate farming and ranching within their own state. More than 20 states challenged California’s Proposition 12, and others have adopted similar laws. *********************************************************************************** Farm Credit: Infrastructure Package to Improve Rural America The Farm Credit Council says the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help improve rural America, bringing infrastructure improvements and jobs. Farm Credit President and CEO Todd Van Hoose Thursday stated, “We commend the bipartisan group of 22 Senators and President Biden for their tremendous effort to forge agreement on this critical legislation.” The legislation will bring support for rural broadband and rural water systems. The bill also will strengthen agriculture transport networks by improving rural roadways and bridges, freight rail, inland waterways, and port facilities. Van Hoose says these investments will create jobs in rural communities, make U.S. agriculture more competitive in global markets, and make rural communities “more vital places to live and work.” As for broadband, the bill features more than $40 billion in funding to improve rural broadband access. The bill is on track to pass and could pass the Senate before lawmakers adjourn for the upcoming August recess. *********************************************************************************** Study Shows How Corn and Soybean Producers Benefit from U.S. Red Meat Exports U.S. beef and pork exports brought critical returns to the corn and soybean industries in 2020, according to an independent study released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The study found U.S. beef and pork exports added 41 cents per bushel to the value of corn and $1.06 per bushel to soybeans in 2020. Corn and soybean producers support the international promotion of U.S. pork, beef and lamb by investing a portion of their checkoff dollars in market development efforts conducted by USMEF. The study shows U.S. pork exports used 2.45 million tons of soybean meal, which is the equivalent of 103.2 million bushels of soybeans. At an average annual price of $8.98 per bushel, pork exports accounted for $927 million in market value to the soybean industry. Beef and pork exports used 530.5 million bushels of corn. At an average annual price of $3.52 per bushel, beef and pork exports accounted for $1.87 billion in market value to the corn industry. *********************************************************************************** Alex Miller to Perform at #Farmon Benefit Concert for National FFA Farm Journal announced this week that American Idol contestant and rising country music star Alex Miller will perform as part of the 2021 #FarmON Benefit Concert during Farm Journal Field Days. Proceeds from the second annual benefit concert will go to the National FFA Foundation, and highlights from the concert will air RFD-TV. Miller grew up in Lancaster, Kentucky, assisting his grandpa on his cattle farm as well as being an active member of the Garrard County FFA. Farm Journal president Charlene Finck says, “We are honored to have an extremely talented and current FFA member as one of our featured performers.” The live concert is set for Thursday, August 26, in Colby, Kansas, and is available only to VIPs and those who register for the in-person Farm Journal Field Days event the following day. For more information about the #FarmON Benefit Concert and Farm Journal Field Days, go to www.FarmJournalFieldDays.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 6, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will have reports on nonfarm payrolls and U.S. unemployment in July at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday. A report on consumer credit in June follows at 2 p.m. CDT. Traders will keep a close watch on rainfall amounts this weekend and any changes in the weather forecasts. Outside markets remain sensitive to the latest news on the coronavirus delta variant. Weather Some scattered showers will be found along a disturbance across the western Midwest Friday and across the Northern Plains Friday night. It is this second system that should garner attention as the weather pattern will become active into next week with several chances for rainfall across the northwestern Corn Belt, areas that desperately need it as corn and soybeans fill.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 5, 2021 |


USTR Tai Meeting with Western Farmers U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai meets today (Thursday) with farmers and ranchers in the Pacific Northwest. Tai and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene, a Washington state Democrat, will tour the Washington State University Breadlab and participate in a roundtable with agriculture and farm stakeholders. The USTR office says the roundtable in Burlington, Washington, will discuss how trade can help Washington’s agriculture and farm industries. A second roundtable planned later in the day in Seattle will focus on a worker-centered trade policy. Tai visited with farmers in Wisconsin last month. The Biden administration has yet to name a Chief Agriculture Negotiator, and Tai has largely discussed ag issues with trading partners herself. Lawmakers asked for a nomination during a congressional hearing last week, and earlier in July, sent a letter to President Joe Biden. The lawmakers wrote, "A Chief Agricultural Negotiator would help expand our agricultural trade and enhance the agricultural economy of our country." *********************************************************************************** American Bakers Association Seeks RFS Rollback U.S. bread and donut makers want the Biden administration to roll back biofuels targets, claiming the Renewable Fuel Standard could raise the cost of their products. The American Bakers Association confirmed to Reuters association leaders met with the Environmental Protection Agency last week, requesting reduced biofuel blending mandates. Of particular interest to the industry is soy and canola oil, used for biofuels and food ingredients. The association seeks biofuel targets at a level last seen in 2019, or no new growth in mandates. EPA is again delayed in releasing new biofuel volume requirements for the upcoming year. Roughly 40 percent of U.S. soy oil goes to biofuels, with the rest for food ingredients. In response, National Biodiesel Board Vice President Kurt Kovarik told Reuters, "Undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard is not a solution,” citing trade wars, pandemic disruptions, and adverse weather impacts to agriculture. The American Bakers Association represents companies such as Kroger, Krispy Kreme, and others. *********************************************************************************** Union Raises Concerns Over Tyson Vaccine Mandate A meatpacking union representing 24,000 Tyson Foods workers is concerned over the new Tyson vaccine mandate. United Food and Commercial Workers International President Marc Perrone says, “While we support and encourage workers getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus…it is concerning that Tyson is implementing this mandate before the FDA has fully approved the vaccine." The union urged all frontline businesses to negotiate vaccine policies directly with their frontline workers and provide paid vaccine leave so that workers can get vaccinated without worrying about losing a paycheck. Tyson provides a $200 bonus for workers to get vaccinated and up to four hours of pay for getting vaccinated outside of work or through an external provider. Roughly 56,000 of Tyson‘s 120,000 employees are vaccinated. Office workers face a deadline of October 1 to be vaccinated fully, while plant employees have until November 1. Since February, Tyson Foods has hosted more than 100 vaccination events for employees. *********************************************************************************** Grassley, Smith Introduce Healthy Dog Importation Act Senators Chuck Grassley and Tina Smith Wednesday introduced the Healthy Dog Importation Act. The Iowa Republican and Minnesota Democrat say the bill would expand USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services program by providing additional tools to monitor and safeguard the health of dogs imported into the country. Grassley states the bill “will expand an already existing program to ensure that all dogs entering the country are healthy and not at risk of spreading dangerous diseases.” Smith adds, “Mitigating the spread of foreign diseases in dogs will help keep domestic and wild animals healthy.” In addition, the legislation would require every imported dog to have a certificate of veterinary inspection from a licensed veterinarian. The health certificate must certify that the dog has received all required vaccinations and demonstrated negative test results. This legislation would also create an online database containing documentation and import permits to ensure dogs entering the U.S. are being properly screened. *********************************************************************************** Study: U.S. Pork Industry Needs More Access to Foreign-Born Workforce A new study says the U.S. pork industry needs access to more foreign-born labor to remain sustainable. The study, authored by Iowa State University economists, was recently updated to reflect the current state of the labor market. The National Pork Producers Council says the study underscores the urgent need for agriculture labor reform. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, "The U.S. pork industry has a critical labor shortage that needs to be urgently addressed." According to the study, from 2001-2020, employment in the U.S. pork industry grew by an annual rate of 1.5 percent, four times faster than employment growth in all U.S. industries. Despite expanded wages and jobs, the U.S. pork industry faces a significant domestic labor shortage due to a dwindling and aging rural labor population where hog farms and harvest facilities are located. From 2014-2019, the rural labor force shrank in five of the eight top pork-producing states, according to the study. *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Beef Checkoff Petition Drive Deadline Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week granted an extension to organizers of the National Beef Checkoff Petition Drive until October 3, 2021. The extension grants extra time for organizers to collect the necessary signatures on the petition calling for a producer vote of the National Beef Checkoff Program. The South Dakota Livestock Auction Markets Association and Kansas-based Stratford Angus organized and initiated a petition drive that began July 2, 2020. The Department of Agriculture originally established a 12-month period for the collection of the required 88,269 signatures. R-CALF USA and other groups have helped collect signatures but due to COVID-19-related restrictions, were unable to meet with cattle producers for several months in locations such as livestock auction yards and public meeting places. As a result, the organizers and assisting groups were relying upon an online petition site to collect signatures. That site, located at www.checkoffvote.com, currently has 18,790 signed petitions.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 5, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims, U.S. trade deficit data for June and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department releases its weekly natural gas inventory report at 9:30 a.m. and USDA will release export data for June some time Thursday morning. Weather Scattered showers across Minnesota and Iowa on Thursday could turn stronger in the afternoon as a weak front moves through the region. Other more isolated showers will be found across the Southeast and Northwest. Showers in the Northwest are too late to benefit the wheat crop.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 4, 2021 |


Ag Economy Barometer Holds Steady The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer leveled off after two months of sharp declines. The July reading is 134, down only three points from June. Both producers’ sentiment regarding current and future conditions also dropped. The Index of Current Conditions dropped six points to a reading of 143, primarily due to weaker crop prices. The Index of Future Expectations dropped two points to 130. This month’s sentiment index marked the lowest barometer reading since July of 2020. Producer sentiment regarding their farms’ financial condition was more optimistic when prices for corn, soybeans, and wheat were surging last fall, winter, and into the early spring. Still, recent sentiment readings suggest farmers remain cautiously optimistic about financial conditions on their farms. The Farm Financial Performance Index, which asks producers about expectations for their farms’ financial performance this year compared to last year, improved three points to a reading of 99. That’s 43 percent higher than July of 2020. The Farm Capital Investment Index declined for the fourth consecutive month, dropping four points to a reading of 50 as farmers plan to reduce their farm building and grain bin purchases for the upcoming year. Over half the producers indicated they expected a rise in the price of inputs by at least four percent during the year ahead. ********************************************************************************************** Barchart Raises U.S. Crop Forecasts on Higher Yields, Cuts Canadian Wheat Prediction Barchart released its August 2021 Yield and Production forecasts for U.S. crops. “Our forecasts for U.S. field crop production have been revised higher on the back of increased yield expectations for both corn and soybeans and are now broadly in line with USDA’s most recent predictions,” says Keith Peterson of Barchart. The U.S. corn forecast is 15 billion bushels on a yield of 180.3 bushels per acre. That’s compared to USDA’s 15.1 billion bushels of production and 179.5 bushels per acre. Barchart predicts U.S. soybean production will be 4.4 billion bushels on a yield of 51 bushels per acre. This compares to USDA’s forecast of 4.48 billion bushels and 50.8 bushels per acre. The company predicts the U.S. Hard Red Winter Wheat yield will be 45.5 bushels per acre, compared to USDA’s yield forecast of 53.6 bushels per acre, including all winter wheat varieties. “We’ve cut our Canadian production forecasts for both soybeans and wheat, with the Spring Wheat forecast down almost 10 percent from July,” Petersen says. “This comes on the back of severe drought conditions across the Canadian prairies.” Their Canadian wheat forecast is for 816 million bushels, and the soybean forecast is for 225.2 million bushels, with a yield of 42.6 bushels per acre. ********************************************************************************************** EU/U.S. Plan to End Steel Tariffs Good News for Agriculture The U.S. and the European Union plan to settle the dispute about longstanding steel and aluminum tariffs by November 1. Capital Press says it’s good news for America’s steel industry, and that indirectly is good news for agriculture. Conversations about Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act relating to steel and aluminum tariffs have been moving forward, and an EU trade official told Politico that,” Both sides have confirmed readiness to find a solution by November 1.” The original agreement deadline was December 31. If the agreement leads to a limitation on the volume of EU steel coming into the U.S. market, that could impact American agricultural manufacturers and farmers. Because of duties on imported steel under the Trump and Biden administrations, U.S. steel prices in 2021 are at record highs. That’s good for American steel manufacturers but difficult for agricultural equipment manufacturers and farmers. What happens in the fall conversations could influence the price of steel, although any decision will only be binding on the U.S. and EU, not China or any of the other major steel exporters around the world. ********************************************************************************************** Senate Subcommittee Approves FY22 Bill with Disaster Aid The Senate Ag Appropriations Committee approved a $25.85 billion fiscal-year 2022 bill for the Agriculture Department and related agencies, including $7 billion in disaster aid. Subcommittee Chair Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin says the bipartisan legislation is a product of Democrats and Republicans working together to support a stronger and more resilient ag economy that works for farmers, ranchers, and families in rural communities. “This bipartisan legislation will drive economic opportunities to farmers and invest in the long-term health of our working lands,” Baldwin says. “It will also invest in broadband and ensure that people facing challenging times have tools to move towards nutrition, health, and housing security.” The bill also includes investments to support the Dairy Business Innovation Program, Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, and research priorities for dairy, specialty crops, and organic farmers. The fiscal year 2022 appropriation bill includes $2.5 billion more than the 2020 funding levels. The full Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the legislation on Wednesday. The disaster assistance funds will help producers who suffered losses due to drought, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other qualifying disasters during 2020 and 2021. *********************************************************************************************** Competitive Meat Market Bill Introduced in House, Senate Legislation to create tax incentives supporting small and mid-sized meat processing plants was introduced by Republicans in the House and Senate. The Hagstrom Report says the goal of the bill is to help cattle producers compete for better prices. A news release says the Feed America by Incentivizing Rural Meat Packing (FAIR) Act says that the bill will make sure the nation’s cattle producers get a level playing field and fair prices for their products, as well as lower prices for consumers in their local grocery stores. “The success of the Kansas economy relies heavily on the cattle industry at every step from pasture to plate,” says Kansas Senator Roger Marshall. “We must ensure robust competition at the packing level by providing butcher shops and medium-sized packers more opportunity for success.” Missouri Representative Jason Smith says, “Our cattlemen are some of the hardest working people in the country and deserve access to fair markets. Unfortunately, if the mega meatpackers continue their stranglehold on the market, our hardworking producers don’t stand a chance.” South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson says, “There’s no silver bullet, but several reforms continue to move us in the right direction. The FAIR Meat Packing Act is one of those reforms.” *********************************************************************************************** FFA Chapters Sharing Ag Education with Local Elementaries FFA Chapters in states across the country are sharing the story of agriculture with their local elementary students. The National FFA Organization teamed up with Zoetis, the Indiana State Fair, and the LEAP Foundation for an agricultural literacy project that introduced swine production to students. “As a long-time supporter of the National FFA Organization, Zoetis (Zoe-EH-tis) is a proud sponsor of ‘There’s a Pig in my Classroom,’” says Shari Westerfeld, Vice President for U.S. Pork. “This program provides FFA members with a great opportunity to interact with young students, exposing them to FFA and educating them on how pigs are cared for and where pork products come from.” The project allows students to share information on swine production with others and culminates with a virtual field trip to the Fair Oaks Farm Pig Adventure. The FFA Organization says this partnership is an opportunity for their members to introduce agriculture to a younger generation. They hope that members can engage students in telling the agriculture story to others and inspire a future generation of leaders. Students from 20 states ranging from California to West Virginia are involved in the project. The FFA Chapters will teach two pre-lessons, assist with the virtual field trip, and teach one post-lesson.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 4, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:15 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the private firm, ADP, reports on private sector job growth for July, a possible hint for Friday's unemployment report. The U.S. Energy Department has its weekly energy inventory report at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. Traders will continue to examine the latest weather forecasts and any export sales news that develops. Weather Isolated showers will be found with a weak disturbance moving through the Central and Northern Plains on Wednesday. Scattered showers will also be noted near the Gulf Coast and Southeast throughout the day as well. Temperatures will continue on a slight rising trend but are still mild east of the Mississippi River.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 3, 2021 |


EPA and Army Corps Announce Next Steps on Writing “WOTUS” The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army announced plans for community engagements to let people know about their efforts to revise the definition of “WOTUS,” or the Waters of the U.S rule. The goal of the rewrite is to better ensure clean and safe water for everyone. The EPA and the Army say they are committed to developing a reasonable, effective, and durable definition of WOTUS that protects public health, the environment, and downstream communities while supporting economic opportunity, agriculture, and other industries. “We will craft an enduring definition of WOTUS by listening to all sides so that we can build on an inclusive foundation,” says EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Uncertainty over the definition of WOTUS has harmed our waters and the stakeholders and communities that rely on them. I look forward to engaging all parties as we move forward to provide the certainty that’s needed to protect our national resources.” The agencies will revise the WOTUS definition by following a process that includes two rulemakings. “It’s vital that farmers and rural Americans have a seat at the table and a voice in this process so that the rule responds to concerns and realities on the ground,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “All stakeholders should share their experiences and views to help shape future policy.” ********************************************************************************************** NCBA Pleased with Southern Border Legislation Late last week, Texas Republican Representative August Pfluger (FLOO-ger) introduced the bipartisan RAPID Act. “RAPID” stands for Reimbursing Agriculture Producers for Immigration Damages. Other members of the Texas Congressional delegation signed on to the bill to help create a reimbursement program for producers that incur losses caused by illegal border crossings. Under the bill, producers could be reimbursed for livestock losses, damage to fences or physical structures, or property losses, all of which currently occur at the border due to those crossing the border illegally. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is grateful to the lawmakers who are supporting policies that protect cattle farmers and ranchers that are simply trying to raise not only their livestock but their families on the land. “Texas ranchers are facing significant hardships amid a flood of illegal border crossings and must continually fix cut fences and damaged infrastructure,” says Hughes Abell, president of the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. “As stewards of large sections of the Southern Border, ranchers suffer a disproportionate share of the burden associated with illegal border crossings,” says Ethan Lane, NCBA VP of Government Affairs. “Not only do the crossings damage property and livestock, but they also endanger ranchers and their families.” ********************************************************************************************** NBB Campaigns for Commitment to Renewable Fuel Standard The National Biodiesel Board launched an ad campaign calling on President Biden to maintain his commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The ads will air on more than 200 radio stations. “As a candidate last August, Joe Biden called the Renewable Fuel Standard ‘our bond with our farmers and our commitment to a thriving rural economy.’ But now there are reports he’s considering handouts to oil refiners at the expense of biodiesel producers and soybean farmers,” the ad says. “Contact your member of Congress and let them know that it’s time for the president to make good on his promise to support Midwest farmers and biodiesel producers.” Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President for Federal Affairs, says, “The Renewable Fuel Standard is a vital policy for the biodiesel industry and soybean producers. Instability in the program creates economic uncertainty for the communities where biodiesel production generates jobs and economic growth.” As members of Congress return to their home states this summer, Kovarik wants them to hear the message and encourage the president to maintain his commitment to the RFS program and our rural communities. The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry support 65,000 jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity every year. ********************************************************************************************** Groups Petition to Relist Gray Wolf as Endangered Species Last week, a coalition of 70 groups filed a formal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-list the gray wolf on the Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf has been protected under the Act since 1978, and since then, wolf populations have risen in several states, including California, Illinois, Minnesota, and many others. On January fourth of this year, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the gray wolf had recovered to the point that it was no longer an endangered species. That means management of wolf populations would return to the states. The Sierra Nevada Daily says the petition calls for the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect wolves in the Western U.S. as a “Distinct Population Segment.” The groups say that wolves remain completely absent from suitable habitats or perilously close to extinction in many western states, and the handful of states surrounding Yellowstone National Park are now driving the larger populations toward extinction. The petitioners also point out that, “The American West has vast tracts of public lands that offer the ideal habitat for gray wolves. To return the wolf and restore the balance of nature, it is necessary to apply federal protections that supersede anti-wolf state politics that push wolf populations toward extinction rather than recovery.” *********************************************************************************************** Brazil Corn Crop Yield Hits Ten-Year Low Poor weather caused second-corn crop yields in south-central Brazil to drop to the lowest level in ten years. Reuters says after drought and frost combined to spoil much of the crop, Brazilian farmers are now expecting to harvest 51.6 million tons, almost 19 million tons below the 70.5 million they brought in during the last harvest. “Failure of the 2021 corn crop, planted with much delay due to the later soybean harvest, was the result of the lack of rain in most of the producing areas in April and May,” says Brazilian agribusiness consultancy AgRural. “The frost starting at the end of June and lasting until now reduced yields and also caused quality problems.” The spoiled second-corn crop hurt Brazil’s export prospects and increased the need for corn imports. The cold and damp weather over the previous weeks also limited farmers’ harvesting pace, with growers collecting just 46 percent of their corn in south-central Brazil through last Thursday, below the 61 percent they’d harvested at the same point in 2020. Second corn is planted after soybeans are harvested and is the country’s main corn crop. It accounts for approximately 70-75 percent of all production in a given year. *********************************************************************************************** CHS Expanding E15 Availability CHS Incorporated is expanding access to higher ethanol blends by offering E15 at 19 additional terminals beginning this month. CHS is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as an E15 manufacturer and sells E15 as an approved fuel-grade through its many retail locations. CHS will offer E15 at terminal locations ranging from Minnesota to Nebraska, North Dakota to Iowa, as well as in Missouri. “As the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative, expanding options for ethanol-blended fuel is important for our Cenex brand retailers and our farmer-owners,” CHS says in a release. “We have always been committed to offering ethanol-blended flexible fuels through our network of 1,450 Cenex brand retail facilities.” The company continues to demonstrate that commitment by working with its terminal partners to offer higher ethanol blends in a broader geography across its retail network. To make E15 more accessible, CHS removed barriers for its Cenex brand retail locations by establishing an EPA-approved misfuelling mitigation plan, becoming the only E15 refiner to do so, and establishing E15 as a qualifying grade of fuel.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 3, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets U.S. factory orders are due out at 9 a.m. CDT Tuesday and there are no other official reports on the docket. Traders will continue to keep a close watch on the latest weather forecasts and on any export news that emerges. Weather Scattered showers will continue across the Gulf Coast and into the Southeast on Tuesday. A weak disturbance will move into the far northwestern Plains with some isolated showers as well. Other areas will remain dry and a couple of degrees warmer than Monday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 2, 2021 |


New Indictments in Broiler Chicken Conspiracy Koch (Coke) Foods, Incorporated, and four Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation executives were charged for their role in an alleged broiler chicken price-fixing scheme. The indictment is the latest action in an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice. DTN says in February, Pilgrim’s Pride admitted to its role in a 2012 conspiracy to fix the price of broiler chickens. The company will pay $107.9 million as a part of its plea agreement in federal court. The new indictment alleges the defendants worked together to suppress and eliminate competition for sales of broiler chicken products. Those chickens are raised for human consumption and sold to restaurants and grocery stores. The four executives and Koch Foods have been charged with violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. The four Pilgrim’s Pride executives will make their initial appearance in court on August 11. Violating the act results in a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a one million dollar fine for individuals, as well as a $100 million fine for corporations. The indictment says the conspiracy goes back to 2012 and uses repeated text messages among the four men that discussed bids and prices for poultry contacts or overall market prices as the basis for the allegations. Those messages allegedly continued through 2017. ********************************************************************************************** Dominican Republic Enlists Military to Fight ASF The Dominican Republic is limiting shipments of pigs and mobilizing its military to contain the spread of African Swine Fever. Reuters says the Dominican ag ministry made the announcement as the U.S. and Mexico tightened border checks to avoid spreading the infection. The U.S. and Mexico are both boosting airport inspections to stop travelers from bringing in Dominican pork products that could carry the virus. Both countries had previously blocked pork imports from the Dominican Republic. U.S. testing of almost 400 samples from Dominican-raised hogs from farms and backyards shows that the disease is in a small population of backyard pigs in two provinces, which together contain almost 20,000 pigs. The total Dominican herd numbers 1.8 million. The ag ministry is prohibiting live and slaughtered pig movement from those provinces, noting that there will be “total military control in all strategic points of both provinces,” and the ministry will help disinfect affected areas. The disease originated in Africa before it spread to Asia and Europe, killing hundreds of millions of pigs and reshaping global meat and feed markets. ********************************************************************************************** Federal Court Rejects NPPC Challenge to Prop 12 in California The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau’s petition to strike down Proposition 12 as unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. “We are disappointed in the court’s decision and stand by our position on Proposition 12,” says NPPC spokesman Jim Monroe. “It’s a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. We are evaluating the decision and our next steps.” The court said for dormant Commerce Clause purposes, laws that increase compliance costs, without more, do not constitute a significant burden on interstate commerce. The court’s decision was 3-0. The court also says the complaint against California “fails to make a plausible allegation that the pork industry is of such national concern that it is analogous to taxation or interstate travel, where uniform rules are crucial.” Pork Business Dot Com says Prop 12 will go into effect on January 1, 2022, and will impose animal housing standards that reach far outside the state’s borders to farms across the country. NPPC says that will drive up costs for both pork producers and consumers. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “After everything producers have faced in recent years, now farmers are faced with a federal district court decision that will result in a 2.5 percent loss of national pork harvest capacity.” *********************************************************************************************** Senators Introduce Legislation to Uphold Navigable Waters Protection Rule Republican Senators on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee led the introduction of legislation to codify the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Act. U.S. farmers need certainty in the guidelines, so the Navigable Waters Protection Act of 2021 will provide it. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was one of the senators behind the legislation. “I’ve worked over the years to put a stop to water rules that would be unworkable for farmers, real estate developers, and landowners,” Grassley says. “Our farmers and businesses are good stewards of the land, and we need to have a real law on the books so Americans can move forward without burdensome regulations.” Grassley and fellow Iowa Senator Joni Ernst wrote a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to express concerns over the Biden Administration’s decision to roll back the previous administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule. He also gave a speech on the Senate floor highlighting the devastating effects if the rule gets rolled back. Earlier this year, the Iowa senators joined together on a Senate resolution that expressed the need for the Senate to stand with farmers, ranchers, and other important stakeholders by supporting the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. *********************************************************************************************** NIFA and NSF Investing $220 Million in Artificial Intelligence Research The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Science Federation announced a $220 million investment in 11 new NSF-led Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes. NIFA and other agencies and organizations have partnered with the NSF to pursue transformational advances in a range of economic sectors and science and engineering fields, ranging from food system security to next-generation edge networks. “These investments in new institutes leverage the scientific power of U.S. land-grant universities in close partnerships with farmers, producers, educators, and innovators to provide sustainable crop production solutions and address these pressing societal challenges,” says NIFA Director Carrie Castille. “These centers will speed our ability to meet critical needs in the future agriculture workforce, providing equitable and fair market access, increasing nutrition security, and providing tools for climate-smart agriculture.” Washington State University is one of the 11 institutions to receive funding and will work to integrate AI methods into agriculture operations for prediction, decision support, and robotics-enabled agriculture to address complex challenges. They’ll look to deliver solutions related to labor, water, weather, and climate change. *********************************************************************************************** Minnesota Farmer Elected New Chair of USGC Delegates at the U.S. Grains Council’s Summer Meeting elected Minnesota farmer Chad Willis as chairman of its Board of Directors. Willis represents the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council on the board and says he was drawn to the Council because he needs dependable markets to sustain his operation. “As I’ve served the Council and as I’ve been able to see firsthand by traveling to other countries, it’s a two-way street,” he said in opening remarks. “We need each other.” Willis also added that as the organization recognizes the importance of their grain markets, USGC must continue to build on the value-added markets for DDGS and ethanol. “The value of global trade has so much potential if we work together to access them,” he adds. Willis has been farming since 1997 and has worked in both the corn milling and feed industries. He was a member of the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council before serving on its board. Brent Boydston of Bayer Crop Science was elected the Council’s Secretary-Treasurer. Joshua Miller of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council is the Vice-Chairman.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 2, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be examining rainfall amounts and the latest weather forecasts. The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by USDA's weekly grain export inspections at 10 a.m. USDA's Fats and Oils report will show the June soybean crush at 2 p.m., shortly before USDA posts the latest crop ratings in the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. CDT. Weather A cold front will remain active across the South with scattered showers from Texas to the Carolinas. The rest of the primary growing areas will be mild and dry with some heat developing in the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies. Conditions continue to favor corn and soybeans in the southeast growing areas with unfavorable dryness in the northwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 30, 2021 |


House Ag Leaders Urge House Vote on Broadband Bill Leaders of the House Agriculture Committee Thursday called for a full-House vote on a bipartisan rural broadband bill. Chairman David Scott and Ranking Member Glenn GT Thompson requested that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican leadership bring the Broadband Internet Connections for Rural America Act to the House Floor for a vote. The bill provides USDA with an authorization of $43.2 billion, which received a unanimous committee vote on July 14, 2021. In a letter to House leadership, Scott and Thompson jointly say, “We write today to ask you for your assistance for a floor vote on our bipartisan legislation.” The lawmakers say it is vitally important that USDA, with its unique expertise, experience, and 159-year history serving rural America, provide the leading role in the nation’s rural broadband strategy. Overall, the investments provide opportunities for rural communities to invest in the health and well-being of their communities, incentivize business growth, and expand economic opportunities. *********************************************************************************** Dominican Republic Confirmed Positive for African Swine Fever The Department of Agriculture announced this week that the Dominican Republic has confirmed cases of African swine fever. The cases were confirmed as part of a cooperative surveillance program between the United States and the Dominican Republic. The United States remains free of ASF, an animal disease affecting only pigs with no human health implications, and imports no pork, animal feed or other pork-related products from the Dominican Republic. While the finding is concerning, National Pork Producers Council chief veterinarian Liz Wagstrom states, “The United States has significantly bolstered biosecurity to protect the U.S. swine herd since ASF broke in China nearly three years ago.” NPPC urges producers use caution when hosting on-farm visitors from an ASF-positive region, review biosecurity protocols and visit with feed suppliers to discuss the origin of feed ingredients. Additionally, NPPC encourages producers to fill out the Foreign Animal Disease Preparation Checklist and enroll in the Secure Pork Supply program. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces $67 Million to Help Resolve Land Ownership and Succession Issues Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday announced $67 million in competitive loans through the new Heirs' Property Relending Program. The program aims to help producers and landowners resolve heirs' land ownership and succession issues. Intermediary lenders, cooperatives, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations, can apply for loans up to $5 million at one percent interest once the Farm Service Agency opens the two-month signup window in late August. After FSA selects lenders, heirs can apply directly to those lenders for loans and assistance. Heirs' property issues have long been a barrier for producers and landowners to access USDA programs and services. The relending program provides access to capital to help producers find a resolution. Heirs may use the loans to resolve title issues by financing the purchase or consolidation of property interests and financing costs associated with a succession plan. Heirs may not use loans for any land improvement, development purpose, or payment of operating costs. *********************************************************************************** Midwest Lawmakers Urge Biden to Consider Biofuels in Environment Agenda A group of Midwestern Senators urge the Biden administration to consider biofuels like ethanol as part of its environmental agenda. The climate focus by the administration includes a push towards electric vehicles. The lawmakers tell the administration in a letter,” Unfortunately, the promise of homegrown biofuels and our agriculture sector appear to be woefully underrepresented in your administration’s energy, environmental, and transportation agenda.” The group requested a meeting with President Joe Biden and cabinet members to discuss immediate and intermediate steps the administration can take to feature American agriculture and biofuels as part of the energy and environmental agenda. The lawmakers say recent studies have found corn ethanol to have 46 percent lower lifecycle emissions than gasoline. The letter also asks the administration to rigorously implement the Renewable Fuel Standard. Senate Republicans John Thune, Chuck Grassley, Roy Blunt, Jerry Moran, Deb Fischer, Mike Rounds, Joni Ernst, Ben Sasse and Roger Marshall signed the letter. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry The Department of Agriculture Thursday unveiled an Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry. The report demonstrates that the biobased industry is a substantial generator of economic activity and jobs, and that it has a significant positive impact on the environment. According to the report, in 2017, the biobased products industry supported 4.6 million jobs, contributed $470 billion to the U.S. economy and generated 2.79 jobs in other sectors of the economy for every biobased job. Additionally, biobased products displace approximately 9.4 million barrels of oil annually, and have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 12.7 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year. USDA deputy undersecretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson announced the report on the 10th anniversary of the creation of USDA’s Certified Biobased Product Label. Maxson says, “Biobased products are widely known for having a substantially lower impact on the environment compared to petroleum-based and other non-biobased products.” *********************************************************************************** USDA: 2021 Food Prices Rise Slower Than 2020 Retail food prices have increased 1.6 percent in the first six months of 2021, less than the rate over the same period last year. The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service says the 2021 increase is equal to the historical average over the same six months from 2000 to 2019. In the first six months of 2021, prices for five food categories increased at a rate slower than in 2020 and years prior, including eggs, dairy, fresh vegetables, cereals and bakery products, and "other foods." Conversely, prices for three food categories increased in the first six months of 2021 at a rate faster than in 2020 and in years prior, including fresh fruits, fish and seafood, and fats and oils. Inflationary pressures differ by food category, according to USDA. For example, fresh fruit prices currently are increasing more than four times faster than their historical average rate because of low citrus supplies and increased exports.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 30, 2021 |


Washington Insider: African Swine Fever Closer to Home Europe and Asia are the areas in the world where African swine fever (ASF) has been the most prevalent. But USDA has now confirmed that ASF has been found in the Dominican Republic. USDA's Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed ASF in samples from pigs in the Dominican Republic via a cooperative surveillance program, USDA announced. Dominican Republic officials said that testing of 389 samples from farm-raised and backyard pigs was conducted, and ASF was found in a "small population of backyard pigs from Sanchez Ramirez and Montecristi provinces." According to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), pork and pork products are already banned from entering the U.S. due to restrictions linked to classical swine fever, and the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is "increasing inspections of flights from the Dominican Republic to ensure travelers do not bring prohibited products" into the U.S. APHIS also said that CBP will also be "ensuring that garbage from these airplanes are properly disposed of to prevent the transmission of ASF." USDA said it has offered additional testing support and will consult with the country on any additional steps of actions to "support response and mitigation measures." USDA has offered similar help to Haiti that shares a border with the Dominican Republic and has a "high risk" for ASF. The Dominican Republic said they were halting pig movements in two provinces and are mobilizing the military as they seek to contain ASF. The two provinces where the finds were will be quarantined, the government said. There are about 1.8 million hogs in the Dominican Republic, with 15,000 in the Sanchez Ramirez province and another 4,600 in the Montecristi province. This is not the country's first find of ASF as the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) said that a 1978 outbreak resulted in the country killing its entire hog herd. Mexico has also acted as a result of the situation, announcing they will work with pork producers in the country to make sure that sanitary measures are up to snuff and that there is "epidemiological surveillance" due to the find. Actions including reinforcing animal inspections at all ports, airports and border crossings, the country's Ag Ministry said, and kitchen and waste on commercial ships, cruise ships and airplanes will be returned to its origin country or the ministry ensures it is properly destroyed. The U.S. stepped up its efforts when ASF appeared in Asia. USDA is working closely with other federal and state agencies, the swine industry, and producers to take the necessary actions to protect our nation's pigs and keep this disease out. So we will see. One has to believe that if the U.S. avoided getting this in 1978 when it previously struck the Dominican Republic, ideally new and updates surveillance efforts should keep the U.S. even more protected. But this remains a very important situation to watch, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 30, 2021 |


Jacobs-Young Nominated as USDA Undersecretary. President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his intention to nominate Chavonda Jacobs-Young as USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics. Jacobs-Young is administrator of the USDA Agricultural Research Service and serves as acting undersecretary for research, education and economics and acting USDA chief scientist. She would be the first woman and person of color to lead this division of USDA, which manages an annual budget of $1.82 billion, the White House said. The role of USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agriculture is still open along with the chief ag negotiator spot at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 30, 2021 |


US List of Facilities Eligible to Export to China Expands USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has released an updated list of slaughter, processing or cold storage establishments that are eligible to export product to China. Under the Phase One agreement with China, FSIS certifies establishments to the General Administration of China Customs (GACC) and those facilities must be listed on the GACC website before slaughtering and processing products for export to China. A notification on the GACC site said that six U.S. facilities were added to the list of those eligible. Information from FSIS indicates that on July 26 and 27, a total of eight facilities were added to the approved list for beef, seven were added for pork, and six were added for poultry. There have been 37 poultry plants added in 2021, bringing the total to 529; 31 have been added in 2021 for pork for a total of 508; and 34 added this year for beef bringing the total to 547.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 30, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets The Labor Department issues its Employment Cost Index and a report on U.S. personal incomes for June is also due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday. The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment for July is set for 9 a.m. CDT. Traders will continue to examine the latest weather forecasts and any hint of export sales news. Weather A system building off a frontal boundary in Nebraska and South Dakota will produce moderate to heavy rainfall from South Dakota southeast through northern Missouri on Friday. This includes the eastern half of Nebraska and western half of Iowa with good rainfall amounts for reproductive corn and soybeans.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 29, 2021 |


House Agriculture Hearing Echoes NCBA Push for More Hook Space The National Cattlemen's Beef Association says a House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing Wednesday echoed the organization's longstanding call to expand processing capacity. The Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on the State of the Beef Supply Chain, examined shocks in the supply chain. Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa says the shocks have "impacted millions of people along the entire supply chain.” Members of the committee also noted the need for greater transparency in cattle markets to create conditions that support both a reliable, affordable supply of U.S. beef. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane states, “The continued momentum we are seeing on expanding processing capacity, both on Capitol Hill and at USDA, is a positive sign.” Cattle industry concerns have seen increased attention recently from both sides of the aisle as NCBA has advocated for “commonsense solutions” that address the most urgent challenges facing producers, including legislation to help small and independent processors expand capacity. *********************************************************************************** Toomey, Shaheen Reintroduce Bill to Overhaul U.S. Sugar Program Lawmakers this week in the House and Senate introduced the Fair Sugar Policy Act of 2021 to reform the federal sugar support program. Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen introduced the bill in the Senate. In the House, North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx, and Democrat Danny Davis introduced the bill. The lawmakers say the federal sugar support program currently costs consumers and businesses as much as $4 billion per year. Specifically, the legislation would lift restrictions on the domestic supply of refined sugar. The bill would also reduce taxpayer liability for sugar processor loan forfeitures and ensure that the impact on consumers, manufacturers and farmers is taken into account when the USDA administers the sugar program. Finally, the bill would reduce market distortions caused by sugar import quotas. Toomey states, “It is long past time we reform this corporate welfare program that jacks up food prices while threatening thousands of good-paying jobs.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Crop Insurance Deadlines USDA’s Risk Management Agency this week authorized Approved Insurance Providers to extend deadlines for producers. The extension includes premium and administrative fee payments, deferring and waiving the resulting interest accrual and other flexibilities to help farmers and ranchers through widespread drought. Producers now have additional time to pay premium and administrative fees, and interest will be waived for 60 days or the termination date on the policy, whichever comes first. RMA also authorized AIPs to waive interest for an additional 60 days for Written Payment Agreements due between August 1 and September 30, 2021. RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy states, “Farmers and ranchers are weathering tough drought conditions this year, and we want to help ease the burden by extending payment deadlines and deferring interest accrual.” Additionally, RMA updated policy in June to allow producers with crop insurance to hay, graze or chop cover crops at any time and still receive 100 percent of the prevented planting payment. *********************************************************************************** USB: Consumer Research Unpacks Protein Perceptions The United Soybean Board Wednesday released new consumer data shedding light on consumer perceptions around protein. More than half of consumers, 56 percent, say it is extremely or very important that plant-based proteins be complete, offering nutrition comparable to animal protein. Soy protein is uniquely positioned to help the food industry capitalize on current trends and consumer interests due to its protein quality, versatility and sustainability benefits, according to USB. The data shows most consumers recognize that protein is important to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, with 82 percent of consumers ages 50 and under agreeing that it is extremely or very important. General health and wellness was given as the top reason for adding protein, animal- or plant-based, to their diets. The study also found the majority of U.S. consumers at 79 percent eat meat, and that 65 percent of the population is open to eating plant-based “flexitarian-friendly” food, with higher numbers reported among younger generations. *********************************************************************************** Purdue Survey Shows Indiana Farmland Prices Hit Record High in 2021 The Purdue Farmland Value and Cash Rents Survey shows farmland prices across Indiana reached all-time highs in June of 2021. Statewide, top-quality farmland averaged $9,785 per acre, up 14.1 percent from the same time last year. The high growth rate for top-quality farmland was closely followed by the growth in average and poor-quality farmland prices, which increased by 12.5 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively. Across all land quality classes, 2021 per-acre farmland prices exceeded the previous records set in 2014. Purdue says a unique combination of economic forces, including net farm income, expected income growth, crop and livestock prices, interest rates, exports, inflation, alternative investments, U.S. policy, and farmers' liquidity, all led to price increase. Cash rental rates also increased in 2021. Average rental rates increased by 3.9 percent for top-quality land, from $259 to $269 per acre. The cash rental rates for average- and poor-quality lands both increased by 4.6 percent to $227 and $183, respectively. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $21 Million To Support Historically Black Colleges and Universities The Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday an investment of over $21.8 million to 1890 Land-grant Institutions to support research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack states, “this investment will strengthen the ability of our Land-grant Institutions to deliver innovative solutions that address emerging agricultural challenges impacting diverse communities.” USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded the funds to 1890 Land-grant Institutions to support 58 projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation’s Land-grant University System and organizations as part of its Capacity Building Grants program. The program is designed to build capacity for teaching, research and extension activities at eligible institutions including curriculum design, materials development, faculty development, student recruitment and retention, and extension program development support. USDA says the investment will strengthen the quality and diversity of the higher-education workforce, and equip 1890 Institutions with resources needed to better address emerging challenges and create new opportunities.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 29, 2021 |


Washington Insider: US Cattle Market Examination If there has been an issue in recent years that sparks an active discussion and lots of finger pointing, it's the U.S. cattle market. While the origins of the current discourse in Washington on the topic didn't come from a fire at a cattle processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, it exposed the challenges in the U.S. cattle industry. Rarely have lawmakers met a problem they didn't love. But they are finding out that the solutions to addressing issues in the cattle market are not easy, and are many and varied. Many have complained about the fluctuations in the cattle market after the 2019 Kansas fire, searching for solutions on how to make the cattle market work better. There are clear camps on the issues. One is the four major cattle packers that control some 80% of the slaughter capacity in the U.S. Officials from two of the four companies -- JBS USA and Tyson Foods -- testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Shane Miller of Tyson Foods blamed the "law of supply and demand" for the price swings that have been seen. He said there have been "unprecedented market shocks" that have hit the markets the past 18 months. But National Farmers Union President Rob Larew, often a critic of the big cattle packers, countered that "market manipulation by multinational meat companies like those represented here today" were to blame. He called on the panel to "push for much more vigorous antitrust enforcement to rein in the unchecked power of the packers, and if need be, bust 'em up." When the Kansas fire took the plant out of operation, that backed up cattle in the system as they had to be moved to other locations for slaughter. That sent cattle prices down while meat prices rose at the store. Critics note that was repeated during the pandemic when plant workers caught COVID and facilities couldn't keep operating with staff. And then JBS was hit with a cyberattack and the same situation evolved on a smaller scale. President Joe Biden signed an executive order which urged that the meatpacking industry be scrutinized for anticompetitive behavior. That resulted in an announcement from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that the Agriculture Department was going to spend $500 million to get more cattle processing capacity. And they also announced another $155 million that was aimed at helping small and very-small processors stay in business and expand. But even those dollars aren't going to come right away. Vilsack was hopeful things would be happening by the end of the year, expressing confidence the federal dollars would prompt even more private-sector investment. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Hill, a House Ag subcommittee looked into the issue, bringing market analysts and academics in to given feedback to lawmakers. But even they raised issues with some of the suggested solutions, like the USDA effort to expand slaughter capacity. Perdue University ag economics chair Jayson Lusk emphasized that lawmakers should not focus to heavily on the ripple effects from things like the Kansas plant fire and the pandemic. "Make policies for the future," he urged, noting new government investments in processing capacity to improve prices paid to farmers "may be fixing yesterday's problem." Plus, he noted that the cost of building a plant is not the only issue as labor availability and regulatory issues also are a challenge. Rabo AgriFinance vice president and animal protein analyst Dustin Aherin chimed in that there are cycles in the cattle market and focusing just on boosting slaughter capacity may still not address issues. "There is a point where industry capacity goes too far to withstand cyclical periods of high cattle supplies--drought risks and cyclical fundamentals must be considered," he cautioned. Several lawmakers have pushed legislation that would require a certain percentage of cattle are sold on a cash basis in the market as opposed to via formula pricing that is sometimes less than clear. There too, Lusk cautioned, "An important distinction needs to be made between price levels and price volatility. And even if all cattle were traded on a negotiated basis, the price level would not necessarily improve." Aherin noted that mandating cash market mandates could end reducing innovation in the cattle market. "Any mandate that would dictate that we have to price a certain number of cattle off of cattle cash transactions certainly hinders the ability to adapt to maybe some new opportunities to price cattle off of beef itself, sometime down the road," he observed. So we will see. Once again, lawmakers are finding out that a solution is not as simple as passing a law. That's not to say action isn't needed. It is. But it has to be carefully considered and as the unintended consequences need to be watched very closely as they could create even more problems, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 29, 2021 |


Groups Lay Out Goals for WTO Reforms A group of U.S. ag and commodity organizations has penned a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, outlining what they would like to see done in terms of WTO reforms. "WTO reform should focus on further market-based and sustainable trade liberalization, institutional improvements that help members better prevent or address trade problems, and a more effective and efficient dispute settlement system," the groups said. They urged action on "creative new approaches" including a modest outcome for the 12th Ministerial meeting in November relative to agriculture, one that is focused on "improved transparency and notifications" that "lays the groundwork for a more ambitious work plan for MC13." And the groups also brought up a long-standing issue that the sector has urged administration after administration involved in WTO negotiations and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) before that: Agriculture's long-term goals "should not be used as a trade-off for non-agriculture outcomes."

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 29, 2021 |


Several Ag Issues Cited in Exam of USMCA After Year One The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing Tuesday to examine the status of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) one year after the trade pact started. Canada's inadequate implementation of new market access for U.S. dairy, Mexico's foot-dragging on agriculture biotech approvals, and the lack of a chief agriculture negotiator nominee were some of the key ag-related issues. The U.S. dairy industry has expressed exasperation at what they charge is a lack of Canada implementing the dairy provisions in the USMCA that were supposed to bring more market access for U.S. dairy products into Canada. And the issues aren't just with Canada. Another big concern among lawmakers and the ag industry is Mexico's lack of action on biotech crop approvals -- despite USMCA provisions requiring the approvals process to be science-based. Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) President and CEO Michelle McMurry-Heath told lawmakers the failure of Mexico to approve several new GMO crop varieties has no basis in science, calling the situation "particularly disturbing to not only our innovative agricultural businesses, but also to the investors that really support their work." So far on the agriculture front, dairy is the only case pursued by the U.S. under USMCA procedures, but pressure is clearly rising on the key GMO issues with Mexico.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 29, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, along with weekly jobless claims and updates of U.S. second-quarter GDP and the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas inventories is set for 9:30 a.m. Traders continue to pay close attention to the latest weather forecasts and any news of export sales. Weather Severe storms that went through the Upper Midwest along a cold front on Wednesday continue across the eastern Midwest on Thursday while continuing to push southeast. This will bring moderate to heavy rainfall for some areas of the southern Midwest and a risk for continued strong winds and hail as well. Temperatures behind the front have cooled significantly and will put an end to the heat as the front continually pushes south through the weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 28, 2021 |


House Ag Approves WHIP+ Reauthorization for 2020, 2021 The House Agriculture Committee Tuesday approved reauthorization for WHIP+ in 2020 and 2021. Chairman David Scott, a Democrat from Georgia, stated during the hearing, the severity of recent natural disasters “has required supplemental assistance, and that’s why I have prioritized extending the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus for 2020 and 2021.” Known as WHIP, the program provides payments to producers to offset losses from hurricanes, wildfires, and other qualifying natural disasters that occurred in 2018 and 2019. WHIP+ covers the losses of the crops, trees, bushes and vines that occurred as a result of those disaster events, milk losses due to adverse weather conditions, and losses to on-farm stored commodities. The bill, approved by a voice vote of the committee, would expand coverage to include the western drought, last year's derecho in Iowa, and another natural disaster in 2020 and 2021. Representative Mike Thompson, a California Democrat, introduced the bill in January. *********************************************************************************** AEM: 100,000 Equipment Manufacturing Jobs Possible Through Infrastructure Efforts More than 100,000 family-sustaining equipment manufacturing jobs can be created before the end of President Biden’s first term in office, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. AEM says these are high-skilled jobs in primarily rural areas that pay an average annual income of $88,000, which is 35 percent above the current national average. The data comes from a study by IHS Markit, which assumes new infrastructure spending will occur over eight years, beginning in 2022, with three-quarters of the spending taking place during the first five years. Finally, it assumes that the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 will pass in the fall of 2021 at a five-year total investment of $303 billion. AEM’s Kip Eideberg says, “It is time for policymakers on both sides of the aisle to put policy ahead of politics and pass the bipartisan infrastructure framework and secure a five-year surface transportation reauthorization as soon as possible.” *********************************************************************************** Center for Food Safety Files Lawsuit over Trump-Era GE Rule The Center for Food Safety this week filed a federal lawsuit challenging the 2020 decision by the Trump administration to eliminate most genetically engineered organism oversight. Previously nearly all GE plants had to go through formal Department of Agriculture approval before open-air experiments or prior to commercial use. However, the center claims the new Trump USDA regulations exempt broad categories of GE organisms from any pre-market approval. Center for Food Safety legal director George Kimbrell says, "The rules unlawfully eviscerate and abandon USDA's responsibility to protect farmers and the environment." Instead of strengthening rules, the lawsuit alleges the rule either exempts most GMOs from regulation or subjects them to cursory reviews that sidestep serious analysis of their actual harms. The Plaintiffs in the case are National Family Farm Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, Center for Environmental Health, Friends of the Earth, and Center for Biological Diversity. *********************************************************************************** FCC Announces $311 Million for Rural Broadband Efforts The FCC this week announced more than $311 million in broadband funding through the Rural Digital opportunity fund. The FCC is ready to authorize the funding across 36 states and took steps to clear up issues with the program’s design originating from its adoption in 2020. As a result of the announcement, 48 broadband providers will bring one gigabit per second broadband speeds to nearly 200,000 homes and businesses over the next ten years and is the first funding approved through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. At the same time, the FCC also took steps to clean up the program. In light of complaints that the program was poised to fund broadband to parking lots and well-served urban areas, the FCC sent letters to 197 winning bidders. The letters offer providers an opportunity to withdraw their funding requests from those places already with service or where significant questions of waste have been raised. *********************************************************************************** NACD Announces $2.1 Million in Grants to Local Conservation Districts The National Association of Conservation Districts announced $2.1 million in technical assistance grants Tuesday. The grants were awarded to nearly 60 conservation districts in 23 states and territories. Made possible through an agreement with the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the grants complement the $13 million in technical assistance grants awarded to previous grantees in April of this year. NACD President Michael Crowder says, "These grants will help conservation districts carry out conservation plans for customers in high priority areas." State conservation partnership leaders helped identify high priority locations and workloads to guide where the awards would best be placed. The funds will support approximately 90 full- and part-time individuals, of whom nearly half are new hires. More than $600,000 of matching funds will be added to these awards, furthering the impact of the grants. To date, in 2021, NACD and NRCS have awarded $15 million in technical assistance grants. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Rural Economic Development, Social Disadvantaged Farmers Funds The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced $14 million in rural economic development project investments. USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, which provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities. The utilities then lend funds to local businesses for projects that create and retain employment in rural areas. USDA Rural Development undersecretary Justin Maxson says, “These loans and grants will help rural communities build back better and support job creation.” The announcement includes investments in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. Meanwhile, on Monday, USDA announced $16.6 million for entities that help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. That funding comes from USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 program. The 2501 program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 28, 2021 |


Washington Insider: Fed Decision Awaited The issue of inflation looms large as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) -- the Fed's decision-making body -- concludes its two-day meeting Wednesday afternoon. And the topic of inflation has been one that continues to dominate a lot of attention throughout the country as consumers are seeing higher prices for several things, including food and fuel. USDA recently updated its food price inflation outlook, but surprisingly did not raise its current expectations for prices. USDA maintains an outlook for all 2.5% to 3.5% in 2021, with food at home (grocery store) prices seen rising 2% to 3% in 2021. Restaurant prices, food away from home, are forecast to gain 3% to 4% from 2020 levels. All three forecasts were steady with the prior month. That is somewhat surprising since USDA often times has made changes to its overall outlooks in July. But prices this year are seen above the 20-year average, and come after upward revisions made in their forecast last month. But consumers are coming off a period of extended favorable prices at the grocery store. Until 2020, prices had either risen far less than their 20-year average or had falling in two years going back to 2016. But after such a favorable run, it's no wonder that the food price inflation situation is of concern to consumers. After all, the pandemic caused food price inflation to push even higher in 2020 compared with the forecast levels for 2021. As COVID vaccines have been given and restrictions have been lifted, consumers have been ready to get out and eat out more than they were able to for much of 2020 -- restaurant prices were up 4.2% from June 2020. Food is one of those categories that is excluded from the Fed's favored inflation gauge -- Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). It is a broader reading than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and still their favored PCE data is the one that strips out food and energy, the so-called core rate. So what the Fed says about inflation when the meeting concludes Wednesday afternoon will be notable. They have insisted for months when each policy meeting has wrapped up that they see the higher prices as "transitory" and that they will not become established enough or significant enough to prompt a Fed response like raising interest rates. The Fed has also been buying Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $120 billion per month. The concept is that buying those bonds will lower borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, and keep economic activity moving forward as we recover from the pandemic. But one of the first policy moves they will take is to "taper" those bond purchases. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell had insisted until the June meeting that it was too soon to "talk about talking about" tapering those bond buys. But after the June meeting, he acknowledged that "talk" had begun. Expectations are that they will not have completed that discussion. But attention will be on whether or not Powell signals that they are close to a decision. That could prompt some market concerns as it will mark the start of the ending of the easy money policy by the Fed. Even so, Powell has promised there will be plenty of notice when the tapering of those bond buys start so the market will not get spooked. Still, even with all kinds of notice, some are likely to get spooked anyway. So we will see. As the Fed moves closer and closer to removing some of the easy money from the market, it will prompt response higher in interest rates and that will start to add another cost factor in for agriculture that needs to be watched very closely, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 28, 2021 |


China's New US Ambassador Headed to Washington China's new ambassador to the U.S., Qin Gang, is heading to Washington on Wednesday, ending speculation over who will be handed the difficult task of trying to ease fractious relations between the powers. The 55-year-old Qin has been a vice foreign minister and has had several western countries and regions in his portfolio. However, he has no direct U.S.-related experience. The South China Morning Post said he has spent the last several days meeting with U.S. businesses in Chin before departing for Washington. He replaces Cui Tiankai, 68, who was the longest serving ambassador to the U.S. and had passed the retirement age for senior Chinese ambassadors, according to Reuters. Qin has also been a spokesman for the country's foreign ministry and many believe he will potentially take a tougher line than his predecessor.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 28, 2021 |


Senate Agriculture Panel Approves Moffitt For USDA Post The Senate Agriculture Committee voted via voice vote late Monday to advance the nomination of Jennifer Moffitt to be undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. Timing for a vote in the full Senate is not yet known. A full Senate vote on another nominee -- Janie Hipp to be general counsel -- is also uncertain as Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Ranking Member John Boozman, R-Ark., said they believe a Republican Senator has a hold on the nomination. And, it's not clear for what reason as there has been little opposition heard on the Hill about Hipp

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 28, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The latest weather forecasts remain the main attention for grain traders. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventories report is due out at 9:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday. The Federal Reserve's two-day meeting will likely keep the federal funds target unchanged and concludes with an announcement at 1 p.m. CDT. The Wheat Quality Council's spring wheat tour moves to day two after estimating a yield of 29.5 bushels an acre on day one. Weather Hot temperatures continue for another day but a cold front moving through the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest will send temperatures down closer to normal Thursday. This front will also produce some strong to severe thunderstorms across the Upper Midwest that could be damaging.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 27, 2021 |


House to Consider Appropriation Bills In a flurry of activity ahead of the August recess, the House of Representatives will consider appropriation bills this week, including the agriculture spending bill. The process began Monday with the House Rules Committee. The 2022 agriculture spending bill provides discretionary funding of $26.5 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion, or 12 percent above 2021. In total, the bill includes $196.7 billion for both discretionary programs funded on an annual basis and mandatory programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The bill is part of a package of seven total spending bills being considered this week in the House, including labor, energy, financial services, interior, military and transportation. The House Agriculture Committee also scheduled a hearing Tuesday on the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act, expanding the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus to 2020. Meanwhile, the Senate looks to finalize its infrastructure package this week, ahead of the August recess, as well. *********************************************************************************** Thompson Seeks House Hearing on Senate Climate Bill The top Republican on the House Ag Committee calls for a hearing on the Senate Growing Climate Solutions Act. In a letter to Chairman David Scott, a Georgia Democrat, Glen GT Thompson of Pennsylvania says, “I write to express concerns with this legislation and request further review by the House Committee on Agriculture.” Thompson has maintained concerns of government involvement in carbon credit markets. The legislation authorizes the Department of Agriculture to establish a voluntary Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program to reduce entry barriers into voluntary environmental credit markets. Thompson counters, “I think this legislation is a solution in search of a problem,” adding, “The language is imprecise and disjointed, leaving questions related to how to interpret certain requirements and policy goals.” Sent last week, the letter requests a significant review of the bill, along with consideration of other proposals in Congress that have similar goals. *********************************************************************************** Bronaugh to Leading U.S. Delegation at UN Food Systems Pre-Summit Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh (Bruh-NAW) is leading the U.S. delegation at the United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit in Rome this week. Leading up to the UN Food Systems Summit in New York in September, Bronaugh and U.S. officials are working with other countries and food systems stakeholders in Rome to build coalitions and consensus around shared objectives, including food security and nutrition, climate change, and equity and inclusion. The Summit was convened by the UN Secretary-General with “the aim of placing the planet on the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,”– proposals that are intended to establish a framework for global peace and prosperity. The fundamentals of the discussion include duly representing farmers, making science-based policies and recognizing agriculture as part of the solution to the main problems facing humanity. While in Rome, Bronaugh will also meet with Italian government officials and UN officials, including the Food and Agriculture Organization leadership. *********************************************************************************** Demand for American Lamb Continues to Rise Consumer demand for lamb increased considerably during 2020. While all meat sales grew as more meals were consumed at home, lamb sales grew at a larger percentage than total meat sales overall, according to the American Lamb Board latest U.S. Retail Sales Report. The 2021 first-quarter report assesses the American lamb market by comparing four-week, 12-week, and 52-week intervals to one year prior. Last year saw a 24.7 percent increase in lamb dollar sales from 2019 and a 17.7 percent increase in pounds sold from 2019. Sales of racks exploded in the third and fourth quarters of 2020. Compared to 2019, rack sales increased 52.8 percent in terms of pounds sold. Sales of ground lamb also saw considerable growth, a 23.7 percent increase in volume sales. Meanwhile, sales of lamb in the first quarter of 2021 outperformed the same 12 weeks a year ago by a sizable margin as dollar sales increased 19.8 percent and volume sales increased 11.8 percent. *********************************************************************************** Oil and Gas Prices Decline Over COVID Concerns Gas and diesel prices fell again in the last week, following a drop in the value of oil. GasBuddy reports the national average gas price dropped 2.9 cents to $3.14 a gallon, while diesel fell .7 cents to $3.26 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan states, “With oil prices struggling under the weight of a rise in new Covid cases thanks to the Delta variant and OPEC’s increase in oil production, average gas prices in most states finally drifted lower.” However, U.S. gasoline demand surged to a new 2021 high last week, and De Haan warns of a bumpy end to summer regarding fuel prices. Implied gasoline demand rose 12,000 barrels per day to 9.3 million, just slightly under normal levels for this time of year. The national average for gas now stands 4.7 cents higher than a month ago and 97.2 cents higher than a year ago. Meanwhile, oil demand typically declines heading into fall. *********************************************************************************** Students Gather to Ensure the Future of Agriculture This week, 44 FFA members gather in Indianapolis to discuss how agriculture will play a pivotal role in their future. It’s all part of the New Century Farmer conference – an opportunity for FFA members who plan to remain in production agriculture to work on their secession plans for success. 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. National FFA educational specialist for Programs and Events, Kate Wehby, says, “This program helps us continue to grow the next generation of leaders.” The conference was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants selected to participate in 2020 were invited to attend the 2021 event. New Century Farmer is sponsored by Case IH, Corteva Agriscience, Farm Credit, Nutrien Ag Solutions, and Meredith Agrimedia. Learn more about the program online at ffa.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 27, 2021 |


Washington Insider: US, China Clashes Continue The U.S. and China have moved into a contentious stance as the Biden administration has unfolded, and this week has indicated that relationship has not shifted a great deal. The week opened with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman holding in China with top officials, including with Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng. Interestingly, while that session was still going on, Chinese state media released a statement from Xie contended the U.S. had created an "imaginary enemy" in China to divert attention from domestic U.S. issues. "The United States wants to reignite the sense of national purpose" with state media reporting that there would be "serious consequences." Xie urged the U.S. to lift visa restrictions on Communist Party members, their families, and Chinese students; lift sanctions imposed on Chinese leaders, government officials and agencies; remove restrictions on Confucius Institutes and Chinese companies; cancel rulings determining Chinese media as foreign agents; and dropping its request to extradite Huawei financial chief Meng Wanzhou from Canada. Sherman's meeting with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi was labeled "frank and open" relative to "a range of issues, demonstrating the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between our two countries. They discussed ways to set terms for responsible management of the U.S.-China relationship, according to the U.S. State Department. Sherman "underscored that the United States welcomes the stiff competition between our countries -- and that we intend to continue to strengthen our own competitive hand -- but that we do not seek conflict with the PRC (People's Republic of China)." While that was unfolding in China, the U.S. and China butted heads at the WTO. The issue is the same one where they recently clashed at the world trade body -- over China's operation of their tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for wheat, rice and corn. At a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body, China contested the U.S. request for permission to impose trade retaliation on China over the TRQ issue. That means the matter is now headed to arbitration. But China also submitted a request for a dispute panel to look at whether it had come into compliance with the WTO ruling on its TRQs which dates back to 2019. The U.S. blocked the request, but will not be able to block a second request. The U.S. believes that the retaliatory actions can move ahead while the two sides are in arbitration, but China said the arbitration should be suspended until the determination is made on whether they have changed their TRQ program and come into compliance with the WTO ruling. China not only contends that it has come into compliance with the WTO ruling but they are also taking issue with the level of retaliation sought by the U.S. And China has also made clear that it wants the U.S. tariffs imposed by the Trump administration to be removed. But so far, there has been no sign from the Biden administration that they are ready to take that step either. So we will see. The level of acrimony continues to rise between the two countries, though no major actions have been taken by either side. Still, the situation should be watched closely in the coming weeks and months, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 27, 2021 |


China Warns EU Carbon Border Tax Violates Trade Principles Plans outlined by the European Commission to implement a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) from 2026 would force companies sending carbon-intensive products into the European Union (EU) to pay carbon costs on such shipments. "CBAM is essentially a unilateral measure to extend the climate change issue to the trade sector," said Ministry of Ecology and Environment spokesman Liu Youbin. "It violates WTO principles ... and (will) seriously undermine mutual trust in the global community and the prospects for economic growth." The U.S. has also raised questions about the potential EU carbon tax, with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai indicating the U.S. would not shy away from confronting the EU on the matter.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 27, 2021 |


Vilsack Talks Food Inflation, Livestock Regs USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack predicted the rise in U.S. food prices seen in June will start to moderate despite the concerns over inflationary pressures in the U.S. economy. "There are certain selective items in the grocery store folks may see for a period of time increased costs," Vilsack said Friday in an interview on Bloomberg Television's Balance of Power with David Westin. "We think this will even out as we begin to recover, as we begin to get the supply and demand in better balance." Meanwhile, Vilsack signaled USDA would soon announce proposed regulations to provide more protection to livestock producers in their dealings with the highly consolidated meatpacking industry. President Joe Biden's executive order on competition instructed the USDA to consider stronger regulations. "I think we will see significant action on that in the very near term," Vilsack said in the session.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 27, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. durable goods orders for June is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by a U.S. index of consumer confidence in July at 9 a.m. For grains, the main interests continue to be weather, export sales, any new developments concerning biofuels policy and the Crop Progress report, just released Monday afternoon. Weather Scattered showers will be found near the Great Lakes and across the south on Tuesday. Temperatures will be quite hot across most of the growing regions today. This will benefit the final stages of winter wheat harvest but cause further stress to drier areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 26, 2021 |


Soy Sustainability Protocol Reaches 100-Million Metric Tons of Exports The U.S. Soybean Export Council, United Soybean Board, and the American Soybean Association are happy to announce a new milestone for U.S. soy exports. More than 100 million metric tons of U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol verified soy has been exported internationally over the seven years since the program launched in 2014. With the growing demand for sustainable soy globally, the SSAP has been recognized as compliant with the European Manufacturers’ Federation Soy Sourcing Guidelines, the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee’s sustainable sourcing code for ag products, the Consumer Goods Forum, and more. “As consumer consciousness about health, the environment, and the need to meet global nutrition and food security continue to drive demand for nutritious and sustainable protein, the U.S. SSAP enables us to provide our global food, feed, consumer packaged goods, and retail sector customers with verified, sustainable U.S. soy,” says Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council. “A reliable supply of high-quality, sustainably-produced U.S. soy plays a vitally important role in enabling families and the food-feed industry around the world to feed our growing planet sustainably.” The U.S. soy industry worked together with non-governmental organizations to develop the SSAP to back up U.S. soybean farmers’ commitment to sustainability. *********************************************************************************************** Chinese Soybean Imports to Drop Later in 2021 China’s soybean imports are likely to slow sharply during the second half of this year after a record first-half buying spree. Reuters says that puts a dent in expectations for sustained growth from the top global soybean buyer and hurts U.S. market sentiment just as farmers will need to sell their new crop. A serious drop in hog profitability and a sharp rise in the use of wheat for feed are slowing down Chinese demand for soybeans, just as farmers are expecting to pull in their third-largest harvest in history. That will add further volatility to a critical crop, which rallied earlier in 2021 to nine-year highs. The manager of a crush plant in northern China told Reuters that, “Soymeal demand is reaching rock bottom as the basis hit its lowest point so far this year. We can’t place a lot of orders to make purchases, so U.S. soybean exports will surely be hit.” China imported a record 48.95 million tons in the first half of 2021, up nearly nine percent on the year as hog herds recovered from African Swine Fever and top producer Brazil shipped a record crop to the Asian nation. ********************************************************************************************** New Ad Campaign Asks Washington to Stop Big Oil Growth Energy launched a new digital ad campaign urging President Biden and congressional leaders to stop oil industry handouts. The campaign also asks Washington to uphold its commitments to reducing carbon emissions and supporting low-carbon fuels. The ads will appear online in the Washington Post and Politico and run until August. Readers will be directed to an action page focused on restoring year-round sales of E15 and emphasizing the importance of strong Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. In the wake of recent court decisions that could limit the market for U.S. biofuels, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor emphasized the urgent need for action by regulators and lawmakers. “It’s time for leaders in Washington to make good on their commitments to clean, renewable energy and put a stop to Big Oil’s efforts to restore its monopoly over the U.S. fuel mix. The evidence is clear – Congress and the administration cannot decarbonize transportation without a growing role for low-carbon biofuels, which are vital to our climate, working families, and the economy.” She also says policymakers must act swiftly to ensure uninterrupted, year-round access to E15 and set ambitious biofuel blending levels. ********************************************************************************************** Brazil Coffee Growers Hit Hard by Frost A surprise frost that struck Brazil’s coffee belt last week hit farmers hard. Financial Post says industry experts fear farmers may default on deliveries of recently-harvested coffee that were sold to traders months ago at prices that are half of the current value. Temperatures dropped below the freezing level on the morning of July 20, delivering a big blow to the heart of the coffee belt, damaging trees so much that it may harm prospects for next year’s coffee crop. Late last week, industry estimates on possible losses to next year’s coffee crop varied widely. Initial forecasts for a loss of 1-2 million bags quickly increased. One Brazilian exporter expects a cut of approximately 4.5 million bags. Initial 2022 production estimates totaled almost 70 million bags. Judy Gaines, a U.S.-based commodity analyst, says it might be too soon to speculate on the damage. “There are a lot of aerial photos going around,” she says. “But nobody knows if those trees will only have to be pruned, which will result in zero production next year, or if they need to be taken out, which means no production for the next two or three years.” ********************************************************************************************** NFU Praises FTC Decision on Right to Repair The National Farmers Union praised the Federal Trade Commission’s 5-0 vote to adopt a policy statement to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions on equipment. Those restrictions prevent small businesses, workers, consumers, and government entities from fixing their products. “Farmers are among the most affected by such restrictions; currently, farm equipment manufacturers refuse to sell software repair tools to farmers or independent mechanics,” the organization says in a news release. “This all but forces farmers to take their broken machinery to a licensed dealership, which can be expensive and inconvenient.” The Hagstrom Report says the NFU has long supported a farmer’s right to repair. The organization is encouraged that the administration is finally taking action to eliminate unnecessary and unfair repair restrictions that will give farmers greater freedom to fix their equipment. The FTC says, “The policy statement adopted today is aimed at manufacturers’ practices that make it extremely difficult for purchasers to repair their products or shop around for service providers to do it for them.” By taking action against the restrictions that violate antitrust or consumer protection laws, the commission says it’s taking important steps to restore the right to repair. *********************************************************************************************** Nutrition Research Improving Public Perception of Beef The Beef Checkoff is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and the NCBA is talking about the successful promotion and research programs driving beef demand. The NCBA says consumers are more open to the nutritional benefits of beef than at any other time since the Checkoff first began more than three decades ago. The Beef Checkoff was implemented during a time when U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggested Americans should limit beef in their diet and reduce their intake of fat and cholesterol. “I’ve seen firsthand the evolution of nutrition behavior over the years,” says Becky Walth, a South Dakota producer and member of the Nutrition and Health Checkoff Committee. “The Beef Checkoff has been ahead of the curve, conducting research to demonstrate the importance of beef in a balanced diet.” Two landmark studies commissioned by the Beef Checkoff reinforced the idea that beef fits a heart-healthy diet. Because of checkoff-funded research, beef can now be Americans’ protein of choice in any gold standard, heart-healthy diet. Beef is also consistently recommended by scientists, physicians, and registered dieticians. In addition, 75 percent of consumers now agree that beef is nutritious.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 26, 2021 |


Washington Insider: Debt Limit Looms As attention remains on the trillions in dollars of spending being pushed by the Biden administration via the bipartisan infrastructure package and a "social" infrastructure plan, another spending issue is rising and it is one that, unlikely infrastructure, has to be dealt with -- the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen penned a letter to congressional leaders late last week, urging them they needed to act on the debt limit before the end of September. "Once the current debt limit suspension expires at the end of July, the department will begin using so-called extraordinary measures, or budget maneuvering," Yellen said, steps that will keep the U.S. from defaulting on its obligations. It is not clear how long the government can use these extraordinary measures before they would hit a default. CQ said Yellen's plea was that lawmakers needed to act "as soon as possible," the publication said, "to avoid an event similar to or worse than the 2011 debt limit standoff when the country experienced the only credit rating downgrade in its history." What can affect these extraordinary measures and how they can stave off a U.S. debt default? "The period of time that extraordinary measures may last is subject to considerable uncertainty due to a variety of factors, including the challenges of forecasting the payments and receipts of the U.S. government months into the future, exacerbated by the heightened uncertainty in payments and receipts related to the economic impact of the pandemic," Yellen said. August 1 will see the Treasury start these measures as that is the date that the most-recent debt-limit deal expires. Treasury, Yellen said, would start by suspending sales of special state and local government securities, to remain technically within the borrowing cap, which on that day will reset to roughly $28.5 trillion. The agency's cash balance, which sat at $616 billion as of Wednesday, is expected to drop to $450 billion by the end of the month, CQ said. The Congressional Budget Office last week predicted that the extraordinary measures will probably allow the Treasury to make to October or November before action would be needed by either raising the debt limit or suspending it once again. But Yellen is not apparently in agreement with CBO. She said the Treasury was likely to burn through some $150 billion in available cash and extraordinary measures, including large payments for military retirement and health care benefits. "There are scenarios in which cash and extraordinary measures could be exhausted soon after Congress returns from recess," Yellen said, referring to the Senate scheduled to return from the August congressional recess September 13 and the House September 20. As for options for Congress, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said there are four options: (1) leave the debt limit in place; (2) increase the debt limit to allow for further federal borrowing; (3) maintain the current debt limit and require the implementation of "extraordinary measures" that will postpone (but not prevent) a binding debt limit; or (4) temporarily suspend or abolish the debt limit. Congress has enacted 98 separate debt limit modifications between the end of World War II and the present to accommodate the changes in federal debt levels, CRS said. Since 2001, Congress has passed 17 distinct changes to the debt limit. The mention of 2011 comes to mind as an event where the debt-limit issue actually had some impacts on the government. For one, the U.S. debt rating was lowered. That sent shudders through financial markets. A 2013 report by the Treasury Department said, "Because the debt ceiling impasse contributed to the financial market disruptions, reduced confidence and increased uncertainty, the economic expansion [in 2011] was no doubt weaker than it otherwise would have been." But Republicans have also thrown another potential roadblock up on the debt limit, saying they will either not help Democrats if they want to suspend the debt limit, or they have set up a list of demands that would get their support for action on the debt limit. But many view their apparent list as unrealistic. One suggestion from 15 Republicans on the House Budget Committee would be another decade long series of spending caps on discretionary spending, similar to the 2011 deficit reduction law (PL 112-25) that the federal government is just emerging from. However, Democrats could opt to use budget reconciliation to raise the debt limit, a move that would mean they would not need Republican support to take the action. But they would likely have to set a specific dollar amount for the allowable debt as opposed to just setting a new date for a suspension of the debt limit. Yellen, however, called on congressional leaders to find a bipartisan solution. "In recent years Congress has addressed the debt limit through regular order, with broad bipartisan support," she wrote. "I respectfully urge Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting as soon as possible." So we will see. The debt limit looms as a truly must-have situation as a lack of action could have disastrous impacts that would likely raise borrowing costs and potentially slow the economic recovery from the pandemic and the situation will need to be monitored closely, Washington Insider believes.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 26, 2021 |


Former Iowa U.S. Rep. Finkenauer to Challenge For Grassley Seat Former Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, defeated after serving one term in the House of Representatives, announced Thursday she will seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by longtime Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. Finkenauer is "the first major Democrat to announce a Senate run in Iowa," Axios reported, noting that Grassley has not yet said he will run for another term in office. The Associated Press said that Finkenauer, "despite losing her House seat in 2020 after one term, remains a youthful prospect in the Iowa Democratic Party, which has struggled to produce a new generation for statewide office." According to the Des Moines Register, Finkenauer has put her attention on "many of the themes that motivated her two campaigns for Congress, including a focus on working Iowans and support for the middle class."

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 26, 2021 |


Farm Bureau Says Mexico Official Assured Glyphosate Ban Does Not Apply to Feed Mexican Economy Secretary Tatiana Clouthier met with American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in Washington last week, telling reporters that he got a key update from Clouthier on the country's coming ban glyphosate. Duvall told reporters on Thursday he got clarity on the Mexican government's plan to ban the widely used herbicide glyphosate by 2024: It only applies to crops grown for human consumption and not those grown for animal feed, he said. Meanwhile, the brief readout of the session between Clouthier and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai did not mention the ag issues, but indicated the U.S. "remains committed to the full implementation of the USMCA, including the strong auto rules of origin, and Mexico's important labor reforms."

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 26, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend and ready to start the final week of July, traders will be keeping a close eye on the latest weather forecasts, straining to get a glimpse of the possibilities in August. A report on U.S. new home sales for June is due out at 9 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections at 10 a.m. USDA's Crop Progress report is set for 3 p.m. and lower crop ratings seem likely, given the past week's lack of significant rain. Weather Periods of scattered showers will be found across the northern tier of the country and also from the Southern Plains to the Mid-Atlantic down to the Gulf Coast. The showers may have some localized benefit across the drier northwestern areas but are not expected to have a widespread effect. Temperatures approaching or eclipsing 100 degrees Fahrenheit will put stress on reproductive crops in drought areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 23, 2021 |


U.S. and China Trading at a Brisk Pace China and the U.S. are shipping goods back and forth at the quickest pace in years. Bloomberg says that’s making it look as if the tariff war and COVID-19 never interrupted the world’s largest bilateral trade relationship. Bilateral trade in goods is an area of stability in a relationship that otherwise continues to struggle. In February of 2020, monthly two-way trade dropped to $19 billion amid shutdowns. However, official Chinese data says the trade numbers rebounded over the past year to set new records. That boom is likely to remain as China purchases millions of tons of U.S. farm commodities for this year and next. While the U.S. government has somewhat different numbers on trade, the brisk pace has defied all expectations that the tariffs still in place on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of merchandise would interrupt supply chains. Both sides are living with the extra cost as China continues to buy large quantities of farm products to fulfill terms of the 2020 Phase One Trade Deal, while U.S. companies continue to purchase the products that they can’t get anywhere else to meet rising consumer demand. *********************************************************************************************** White House Delaying Biofuel Mandates The White House is delaying the annual process that decides how much ethanol and other biofuels will get blended into the nation’s fuel supply each year. Two sources told Reuters that the administration is looking for a solution to the issue which pits refineries against corn farmers. Lawmakers on both sides of the disagreement have pushed the Biden Administration for months to decide the issue. Refiners want low volumes of biofuels to keep their production costs down, while U.S. farmers want higher volumes to pump up sales of corn-based ethanol and other products. Sources say the White House has largely stayed out of the matter until now, but the administration is looking to take control of the situation. Both the refining and corn-based industries have waited anxiously for the Environmental Protection Agency to announce proposals for the level of biofuels that refiners must blend in 2021 and 2022. The 2021 amount is over half a year late due to the economic fallout from COVID-19. Many expected the proposals in June, which didn’t happen. A series of court rulings on the issues related to the Renewable Fuel Standard has only amplified confusion for both industries. ********************************************************************************************** Vilsack Defends Farmworker Changes Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed proposed migrant farmworker programs during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing was set to talk about an earned pathway to citizenship for migrant farmworkers. Roll Call Dot Com says several Republicans on the committee said they won’t support such legislation without first improving security on the southern border. South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham said, “You don’t give amnesty and hope people won’t keep coming. You secure the border, then you provide legal status. We’re doing it completely backward.” In March, the House passed legislation that would allow migrant workers who had already worked a certain number of years to apply for legal status. Vilsack defended the bill, saying he doesn’t believe its passage would cause an influx of immigrants at the border. The debate over citizenship for migrant farmworkers comes soon after a federal judge ruled that the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is illegal. The program was designed to protect certain undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. ********************************************************************************************** NIFA Announces $7 Million in Ag Research Grants The USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture announced more than $7 million in research grants to non-land-grant colleges and universities. “These grants aim to increase research, education, and outreach capacity at non-land-grant institutions to support the development of the innovations and workforce needed to sustain the agriculture industry in the future,” NIFA said in a news release. Carrie Castille, director of NIFA, says, “The National Institute of Food and Agriculture awards research, education, and extension grants to solve the grand challenges before all of us. These efforts will help improve rural economies, increase food production and agricultural profitability and sustainability, address climate change and related issues, ensure food and nutrition security, and train the next generation of the agricultural workforce.” Among the 24 funded projects, Texas A&M will study how pollinator-friendly perennials in ornamental landscapes can provide a solution to decades of major declines in pollinator populations. Other grants will help train networks of scientists and educators who will work on climate-ready and sustainable agricultural practices, as well as other studies on soil and water quality. *********************************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Drops to a Five-Week Low Ethanol output during the week ending on July 16 dropped to the lowest level in five weeks while inventories climbed higher. The Energy Information Administration says production of the biofuel dropped to an average of 1.028 million barrels a day. That’s down from 1.041 million barrels a day, on average, the previous week and the lowest production level since the week ending on June 11. In the Midwest, which produces the most ethanol of any region in the country, output averaged 980,000 barrels a day, also a five-week low. The Midwest decline accounted for the entirety of the losses for the week as production in the Gulf Coast rose to an average of 18,000 barrels per day last week. East Coast output was unchanged at 12,000 barrels a day, Rocky Mountain production stayed around 10,000 barrels a day, and the West Coast production level stayed at 9,000 barrels a day. Ethanol stockpiles jumped to their highest level in almost five months during the week ending on July 16. Inventories rose to 22.51 million barrels last week, up from 21.1 million during the previous week and the highest level since the week ending on February 19. ********************************************************************************************** Consumer Demand for Lamb Protein Keeps Rising Consumer demand for lamb increased considerably during 2020. While all meat sales grew during the year as more meals were eaten at home, lamb sales grew at a larger percentage than total meat sales overall. That’s according to the U.S. Retail Sales report commissioned by the American Lamb Board. First-quarter sales in 2020 increased by almost 25 percent from 2019 to 2020, and the pounds of lamb meat sold increased by 17.7 percent during that same time. Sales of rack of lamb exploded in the third and fourth quarters of 2020. Compared to the previous year, rack sales increased almost 53 percent in terms of pounds sold. Sales of ground lamb also saw significant growth, increasing by 23.7 percent. California has seen the most growth since 2019, thanks to a 30 percent increase in dollar sales and a 29.6 percent increase in pounds sold. The Northeast U.S. remains the highest-selling region by a significant margin, accounting for 29 percent of all lamb sales in the U.S. Lamb retail sales remained strong into the first quarter of 2021. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, dollar sales grew by almost 20 percent, and volume sales climbed almost 12 percent higher.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 23, 2021 |


Washington Insider: Immigration Remains a Hot Ag Topic Typically the debate over immigration doesn't always involve agriculture. But the Senate Judiciary Committee this week held a hearing on just that topic -- how immigration issues affect agriculture. The attention was on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA), with the use of H-2A visas one of the key areas for U.S. ag companies when it comes to bringing in immigrant workers. Under the FWMA, there would be five-year visas to undocumented farm workers who meet specific eligibility criteria. But they would also be provided with a pathway to permanent legal status and that became one of the key issues that Republican lawmakers focused on in the session. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack told lawmakers that they needed to support the FWMA. The bill, he said, marked a "very delicate compromise" which the House approved earlier this year. Vilsack, a seasoned official in terms of testifying before Congress, turned the questions on lawmakers themselves. That doesn't always happen. But Vilsack pressed Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., on how it could be viewed as amnesty. He specifically noted that he did not see how it could be amnesty "when the bill provides for the payment of a fine of $1,000, I don't quite understand why we're talking about amnesty." Kennedy's simply said, "Because it is amnesty, and I think most Americans see it as amnesty, and I see it as amnesty." But Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, likened it to a 1986 immigration reform effort that included an amnesty provision, noting that under that law many agricultural workers that obtained legal status ended up leaving the sector, eventually forcing employers to bring in more illegal immigrants. "The cycle simply began once again," he noted. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said extending citizenship to even one worker under the farmworker bill would result in "a run on the border." Vilsack countered that farmworkers would only qualify for citizenship when they had been in the country for a while. Graham called the idea of passing the farmworker legislation "ass-backwards," saying that the U.S. needs to be addressed first. But some of the liveliest activity came when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held the questi