READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 13th…

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Farm Credit Beginning Farmer Loans up 12 percent

Farm Credit made nearly 80,000 new loans to beginning farmers and ranchers last year totaling nearly $13 billion. The Farm Credit Administration says the number of loans made to beginning producers increased by 12.2 percent, 5,000 loans more than 2014. Loans to beginning farmers accounted for 22 percent of all loans made by Farm Credit. Officials say last year the average size Farm Credit loan to a beginning farmer or rancher was up slightly from 2014 to almost $160,000. Meanwhile, over the past ten years, new loans made by Farm Credit to beginning farmers increased by more than 45 percent. Each year, Farm Credit lenders specifically report their loan activities in support of beginning farmers and those results are reviewed by the Farm Credit Administration, the federal regulator that oversees Farm Credit activity, and reports the activity to Congress.

Bankers Tell Congress Overregulation Hurts Rural Banks

The American Bankers Association told Congress last week the growing volume of bank regulation is making it harder for America’s hometown banks to meet the needs of their customers, particularly in rural communities. Testifying in front of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, CEO of the Oklahoma Bankers Association, Roger Beverage, told lawmakers regulation shapes the way banks do business and can help or hinder the smooth functioning of the credit cycle. Beverage testified that the new regulatory atmosphere – not the local economic conditions – is often the tipping point that drives small banks to merge, noting that there are nearly 1,500 fewer banks than there were five years ago. First National Bank CEO Shan Hanes of Kansas told lawmakers that overregulation on rural America hinders growth for rural communities. Hanes also claimed the Farm Credit System puts rural banks on an uneven playing field.

Labor Bill Prohibits OSHA from Imposing New Fertilizer Restrictions

The fiscal year Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill includes a provision that would stop new restrictions on fertilizer sales. North Dakota Democratic Senator John Hoeven says the bill moved out of committee on Thursday and would also stop the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from forcing agriculture retailers to comply with the same chemical storage requirements as wholesale facilities, according to the Hagstrom Report. Hoeven says the provision is needed because the OSHA regulations, yet to be implemented, have already caused nine facilities to close in North Dakota. Hoeven says the OSHA proposal would cause many retailers to stop selling to farmers at rural locations and threatened to limit the supply of anhydrous ammonia, a nitrogen fertilizer that is vital to farmers.

Canada Targeting U.S. Truck Washes as Link to PEDV

Farm Groups in Canada are blasting U.S. truck washes for being too dirty to prevent the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus. This comes as three farms in Canada discovered the virus in the past two weeks. Last month, Canada revived a requirement that trucks delivering pigs to U.S. farms be washed before returning home. The recent infections are fueling concerns among Canadian farmers and veterinarians that commercial U.S. truck washes are contaminated with the virus and raising the risk for outbreaks, according to Reuters. However, there is no proof linking U.S. facilities to the latest cases. Manitoba Pork general manager Andrew Dickson simply said “we have our deep, dark suspicions.” The problem with commercial washes, according to Canadian farm groups, is that some use recycled water, which can spread diseases, and others do not heat trucks enough to kill viruses.

India Announces 25 Percent Tax on Sugar Exports

India plans to tack a 25 percent tax on sugar exports to ensure domestic supplies remain sufficient. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports this could further push up the already elevated global price of the sweetener. India is the world’s number two sugar producer, and its supplies have dwindled after two consecutive years of drought in key growing years. In fact, the country is expected to become a net importer of sugar in the 2016-2017 marketing year. Also of note, the Philippines said the country will allow the import of another 100,000 metric tons of raw or refined sugar, possibly from Thailand. This year marks the first time the country has allowed sugar imports in six years.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service