READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, October 3rd…

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USDA Reports Higher Corn, Soybean Stocks

The Department of Agriculture’s Grain Stocks report released Friday showed increased storage of old crop corn and soybeans compared to the last marketing year. As of September first, there were 1.74 billion bushels of old crop corn and 197 million bushels of old crop soybeans in storage, according to the report released by USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Producers reported that there were 627 million bushels of corn stored on farms, up six percent from this time in 2015. Off-farm facilities held 1.11 billion bushels of corn, down two percent from a year ago. NASS reported that there are 41.6 million bushels of soybeans stored on the farm, down 16 percent from 2015, and 155 million bushels off-farm, up 10 percent from last September. USDA also released the Small Grains Summary on Friday. According to the report, wheat growers set new record-high yield of 52.6 bushels per acre in 2016. USDA also estimated barley production at 199 million bushels, down nine percent from 2015.

Livestock Sales Bill Clears Senate, Heads to White House

Legislation to expand financial protections in the Packers and Stockyards Act to transactions made electronically is headed to the White House after the Senate cleared the measure by unanimous consent last week. The bill would amend the law to include sales made using video or through an online auction house. The bill would also specify that funds can be transferred electronically, such as through a debit or credit card. Currently, the law allows only check or wire transfer to settle sales. Pro Farmer reports the bill now moves to the president’s desk, though the White House has not issued a position.

USDA to Require Meat Packers to Report Online Cattle Buys

The Department of Agriculture said last week it will require meat packers to report cattle purchases made through an online auction platform. Politico reports the move is an effort to bring more transparency to pricing following the May launch of the Fed Cattle Exchange, an online cattle auction site. Starting Wednesday, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will start including these transactions in weekly price reports. The price reports are used by companies like Tyson Foods and Cargill to determine prices to pay ranchers for animals. USDA noted participation in the cash slaughter market has declined significantly since 2010, as the industry uses more forward contracts to sell cattle. That makes it difficult to determine prices, justifying the move to require online sales reporting.

Banking Group Supports Bill Offering Tax Relief for Rural Lending

The Independent Community Bankers of America last week endorsed legislation that the organization says would provide tax relief for farmers. The group says the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act would support farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners by providing tax relief for agricultural and rural residential lending. The bill was introduced by U.S. House Member Lynn Jenkins, a Republican from Kansas. The bill would also promote access to credit and reduce borrowing costs amid the current weak commodities prices. The banking organization says that while farmers enjoyed robust prices for commodities earlier this decade, the current downturn in farm prices has reduced net farm income from $128 billion in 2013 to a projected $71.5 billion this year. Meanwhile, strict mortgage and appraisal regulations are driving lenders out of rural mortgage lending, curtailing access to credit, and threatening the rural housing market. The bill, H.R. 6260, was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

Most Consumers Say They Lack Access to Information about Food

New research by the from The Center for Food Integrity shows consumers want more information about food and how it’s produced. The research, announced last week, shows only 28 percent of consumers strongly agree they have access to all the information they want regarding food, how it’s produced and safety. Charlie Arnot, CEO of CFI says “the industry still has work to do.” The results show that consumers want transparency in very specific areas, including the impact of food on health, food safety, animal well-being and the environment. Further, the research says consumers want fair and honest information. CFI also found that third-party verification is important, particularly when it comes to animal well-being and food safety.

USDA Announces Funding for Community Food Projects

The Department of Agriculture last week announced more than $8 million of funding for community food projects. The funding from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will help 33 projects to foster self-sustaining solutions that help make healthy foods available to families living in low-income neighborhoods, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The Secretary says this funding will “promote efforts to decrease food insecurity through healthy diets and nutrition education.” A food security report by USDA shows the estimated percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure in 2015 at 12.7 percent, down from 14.9 percent in 2011. Vilsack says funding community food projects helps reduce food insecurity. Find a list of funded projects online at NIFA dot USDA dot gov (

SOURCE: NAFB News Service