READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, May 31st…

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USDA Issues Latest Ag Export Forecast

Agricultural exports in fiscal year 2016 are projected at $124.5 billion, which is $500 million below the February projection. The Hagstrom Report says it’s also $15.2 billion dollars below fiscal year 2015. The Ag Department also says grain and feed exports are forecast at $27.7 billion, up $500 million from the February forecast. The rise in grain and feed exports is primarily because of larger wheat and corn volumes, as well as higher unit values for corn and sorghum. Oilseed and its product exports are forecast at $26.1 billion dollars, up $700 million in response to stronger soybean and soybean meal export volumes as well as higher soybean unit values. Cotton exports are forecast at $3.1 billion, down $100 million from the February forecast. The forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy is forecast at $33.5 billion, down $1.2 billion because lower prices in dairy, poultry, and beef won’t be offset by gains in other livestock products. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said today these numbers show the importance of getting the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement passed in Congress.


USA Unprepared for Animal Disease Outbreak

The past president of the National Pork Producers Council, Dr. Howard Hill, spoke at a Congressional sub-committee hearing on livestock, and said the USA is unprepared for a foreign animal disease outbreak. He said Foot and Mouth disease poses a serious threat to hog farmers who have no way to treat it should American pork producers be hit by an outbreak. Brownfield reports that Hill said the only way to treat the disease is with vaccinations. The USA currently can’t produce a large number of vaccines for even an initial outbreak, let alone long term. Hill said the country must put together an FMD vaccine bank, and that’s consistent with a recent Homeland Security presidential directive. NPPC wants the government to establish an offshore vendor-maintained bank, which would contain an inventory of 10 million doses, which NPPC estimates will be needed during the first two weeks of an outbreak.


USDA Extends Deadline for Recording Farm Structure

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a one-time 30-day deadline extension to the June 1 deadline for recording farm organization structures related to Actively Engaged in Farming Determinations. This date is used to determine the level of interest an individual holds in a legal entity for an applicable program year. Farming operations now have until July 1 to complete their restructuring or finalize any operational change. The U.S. Department of Ag issued the extension in response to farmers and ranchers who requested more time to comply, and to assure everyone has enough time to provide the information under the new rules.


Soybean Harvest Progresses in Argentina, but Still Behind

Drier weather has helped soybean harvesting to make progress in Argentina. 72 percent of the crop was harvested as of Thursday. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today says represents an 11-point increase from a week prior, but harvest is still 18 percent behind last year’s pace. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange notes that record yields in areas not hit by rain have allowed it to maintain the 56 Million Metric Ton forecast, in spite of losing 1.65 million bean acres. Corn harvest is also progressing, with 29 percent of the crop out of the fields. The exchange also reports that farmers have sown 3 percent of total land amounts they plan to put wheat production.


Soybean Meal Futures Surging Higher

Soybean meal futures have risen by 54 percent since the beginning of this year. Bloomberg reports that the surge was spurred by flooding in Argentina that reduced its soymeal supplies at a time when global meat production is expected to set a record. Some livestock producers are looking to find cheaper alternatives to soybean meal, such as corn, and others are delaying booking their soybean meal needs because they think the rally may be a short one. Even though the price of corn has risen recently, it’s still a cheaper option right now than soybean meal. Dried distiller’s grains are also benefitting from the rise in soybean meal prices. It’s appeal as a more affordable feed option has driven the price of DDG’s to its highest spot since last August.


Soybean Growers Welcome MOU with Cuban Agribusiness Group

At a signing ceremony on Thursday, The U.S. Ag Coalition for Cuba and a Cuban agribusiness group (G.E.A) formalized an agreement between the two nation’s farm and food industries to reestablish the Cuban marketplace for American food and agricultural products. Both the USACC and GEA will meet regularly to make sure the relationship is mutually beneficial for both countries. The American Soybean Association supports normalizing trade relations with Cuba and lifting the decades-old trade embargo. Soybean Association Vice President Ron Moore said “Much has changed since the embargo was put in place back in 1961. Cubans have more opportunity to develop their economy, and Americans have an increasing opportunity to help meet that demand.”


Presidential Candidates Support the RFS

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently said he supports the Renewable Fuels Standard and ethanol because “renewable energy is one way to make America great again.” Emily Skor is the CEO of Growth Energy, and she said “I couldn’t be more pleased. His announcement that he would meet with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to talk about ensuring a strong RFS past 2022 is great news.” She said the fact that both of the leading candidates to be the next President support the RFS is good news for renewable fuel supporters across the country.


Nebraska Pork Facility Target of Animal Abuse Video

The Animal Legal Defense Fund released undercover footage obtained at a pork production facility in Nebraska. Feedstuffs magazine said the facility is owned and operated by the Maschoff’s (Ma-shoff) LLC. The video depicts animal neglect and violations of laws protecting both consumers and animals. According to the A.L.D.F, the video shows long term neglect and a lack of veterinary care. The Maschoff’s are the third largest American pork producer, and one of their key customers is Hormel Foods. The Maschoff’s said their animal abuse policy is straightforward: “We have a zero tolerance policy for any abuse or mistreatment of our pigs, and this instance is no exception. We will investigate and take swift action to address these concerns.” Hormel has issued a suspension to all Maschoff sow operations in Nebraska while a thorough investigation is completed.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service