06-29-18 USDA Reports Soybean, Corn Acreage Down

USDA Reports Soybean, Corn Acreage Down

WASHINGTON, Jun. 29, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated 89.6 million acres of soybeans planted in the United States for 2018, down 1 percent from last year, according to the Acreage report released today. Corn area planted is estimated at 89.1 million acres, down 1 percent from last year.

Following up to the Prospective Plantings report released in late spring, NASS surveyed approximately 8,600 segments of land and 70,500 farm operators during the first two weeks of June to gather information on what farmers actually planted. Key findings released in the Acreage report include: Continue reading

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2018 Farm Bill Passes Senate, Next Stop: Conference

Senate Passes Farm Bill, Next Stop: Conference

The Senate passed a bipartisan farm bill Thursday, sending the legislation to conference so the House and Senate can mend their differences. The vote, 86 to 11, capped off a day of consideration on the Senate floor. In a way, the Senate offered a warning shot to the House, tabling an amendment Thursday afternoon that would tighten work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, in a lopsided vote 68-30, showing resistance to similar language in the House bill. Meanwhile, House Republicans charge it may be difficult to pass a final bill through the House without SNAP reforms. The Senate bill was blocked Thursday morning by Senator Marco Rubio regarding Cuba trade provisions by Senator Heidi Heitkamp, but the two reached an agreement to allow USDA trade funding to Cuba, if it’s in accordance with administration policy, and allow consideration of the farm bill Thursday.

Overall, the Senate bill offers little fanfare in major changes, compared to the current bill that expires later this year. The bill includes Senator John Thune’s amendment to allow partial haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land, which was approved by voice vote before final consideration of the bill. Included in the bill is Senator Chuck Grassley’s proposal to reform the definition of “actively engaged” in a farming operation in order to receive farm payments. Before passage, the Senate defeated an amended by Senator Mike Lee that farm groups, such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, say “sought to undermine commodity checkoff programs.



View the entire version of the Senate’s 2018 Farm Bill onlinehttps://www.agriculture.senate.gov/2018-farm-bill

CDC Retracts Farmer Suicide Rate Findings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a week ago confirmed its widely cited research on farmer suicides was wrong. The research from 2016 reported that farmers have the highest suicide rate in the country. That report found that workers in the “farming, fishing, and forestry,” job category held a suicide rate over four times the national average, far and away the highest in the study. But, the CDC told New Food Economy in an email it had misclassified farmers as farming, fishing, and forestry, or “Triple-F,” workers. The revised rate for Triple-F workers is now third among occupational groups in the study, while CDC has yet to release a suicide rate for farmers. Under technical terms, farmers are considered managers, according to federal guidelines. The suicide rate among managers, in contrast, was average. Still, of those in the “Triple F” category, nearly 90 percent are agricultural workers.

International Lawsuit Targets Heart of Trump Tariffs

A lawsuit filed at the Court of International Trade targets the heart of President Trump’s trade agenda, the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. An industry group that represents steel importers and traders will also challenge the constitutionality of the law that gave the president the power to enact the tariffs. The American Institute for International Steel filed the lawsuit, along with two of its member companies, and seeks a court order preventing further enforcement of the 25 percent tariff increase. The tariffs are impacting multiple U.S. industries, from equipment manufacturers, brewing companies that use aluminum cans, automakers and nail and fastener makers. The tariffs, according to the industry group, has prompted a 50 percent increase in product prices for U.S. steel-using manufactures. Additional waves of impacts are expected through retaliatory tariffs, including those from China on U.S. agricultural products that are set to start late next week.

Dairy Industry Asks Trump to Suspend Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

More than 60 companies and organizations representing American dairy farmers and cheese makers commended President Donald Trump this week for his efforts on equitable trade and for insisting that Canada halt its market-distorting dairy practices. At the same time, the companies urged the administration to reconsider its imposition of new tariffs on Mexico in light of it’s “constructive engagement” in North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, and the harm that Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs will have on U.S. dairy’s trade with its largest market. In retaliation for U.S. actions on steel and aluminum imports, Mexico recently added new tariffs, some of which will reach as high as 25 percent next month, on American-made cheeses, among other products. The National Milk Producers Federation says the tariffs will “certainly diminish demand for high-quality dairy products that are produced across the United States.”

Arrest Made in $5.8 Million Cattle Fraud Case

A Texas man has been arrested on theft charges in a case that encompasses more than ten counties in Texas and Oklahoma, 8,000 head of cattle and outstanding loans of more than $5.8 million. The investigation by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and Texas Rangers started more than a year ago. A bank contacted authorities after Howard Lee Hinkle, 67, defaulted on several loans worth millions. When bank officials acted on a court order to gather the approximately 8,000 yearling cattle put up as collateral they were unable to locate any of the animals. As the investigation continued, the Rangers identified various properties and cattle listed in the loans, but found that none were legitimately owned by Hinkle. Authorities suspect that Hinkle deceived the bank by showing them fraudulent documentation and cattle that belonged to other individuals. Hinkle was arrested this week and faces felony charges and up to life in prison.

Nationwide Awards 29 Fire Departments with Grain Bin Rescue Technology

The self-proclaimed number one farm insurer in the United States is providing grain bin rescue technology to 28 fire departments throughout the United States. Nationwide, in partnership with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, selected the fire departments as winners of the fifth annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest. The contest was created in accordance with Grain Bin Safety Week, after identifying a lack of specialized resources available to rural fire departments, who are often the only line of defense against grain bin entrapments. Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness, says that until farmers are “convinced to develop a zero-entry mentality,” Nationwide will continue to make rescue resources as widely available as possible. Over the last 50 years, more than 900 cases of grain entrapments have been reported in the United States, and have resulted in a 62 percent fatality rate. Since 2014, Nationwide has awarded rescue tubes and specialized training to 77 fire departments across 23 states.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service