11-14-19 BARN Reporter Samantha Munson, “NAFB: Vilsack says Dairy has a Great Story to Tell”

BARN Reporter Samantha Munson, “NAFB: Vilsack says Dairy has a Great Story to Tell

The BARN via NAFB News Service – November 14, 2019 –Former Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack address farm broadcasters at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual convention in Kansas City. Currently the President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, Vilsack said the dairy industry has reasons for optimism in spite of the Dean Foods bankruptcy announced this week…

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SOURCE: NAFB News Service

11-14-19 BARN Reporter Samantha Munson, “NAFB: Dean Foods Bankruptcy Short-term Disruption for Dairy”

BARN Reporter Samantha Munson, “NAFB: Dean Foods Bankruptcy Short-term Disruption for Dairy”

The BARN via NAFB News Service – November 14, 2019 – A dairy market expert says the announced bankruptcy of Dean Foods should be considered a speed bump, for now. Dairy market analyst from Total Farm Marketing, Bryan Doherty, calls the issue a short-term disruption…

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SOURCE: NAFB News Service

11-14-19 USDA NEWS: American Poultry Farmers Regain Access to China

USDA NEWS: American Poultry Farmers Regain Access to China

Washington, D.C., November 14, 2019 – United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the following statement on China’s decision to lift its ban on poultry imports from the United States:
“The United States welcomes China’s decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on U.S. poultry and poultry products. This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “China is an important export market for America’s poultry farmers, and we estimate they will now be able to export more than $1 billion worth of poultry and poultry products each year to China. Reopening China to U.S. poultry will create new export opportunities for our poultry farmers and support thousands of workers employed by the U.S. poultry industry.”
Secretary Perdue said, “After being shut out of the market for years, U.S. poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China’s market to their products. America’s producers are the most productive in the world and it is critical they be able to sell their bounty to consumers in other parts of the globe. We will continue our work to expand market access in important markets like China as well as other countries, to support our producers and U.S. jobs.”

Continue reading

11-14-19 CME Group to Launch Block Cheese Futures and Options

CME Group to Launch Block Cheese Futures and Options

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. and CHICAGO, Nov. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The

CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced that it will launch Block Cheese futures and options in January 2020, pending regulatory review.

“Our clients continue to look for tools to manage their price exposure in physical cheese markets, including food manufacturers and processors of cheese,” said Tim Andriesen, Managing Director of Agricultural Products at CME Group. “The addition of Block Cheese futures and options to our existing suite of cash-settled dairy products provides clients with another solution for managing and hedging their risk.”

The new futures and options contracts will be cash-settled to the monthly average price for 40-lb. block cheddar cheese as reported by the USDA’s National Dairy Products Sales Report (NDPSR) with each contract representing the equivalent of 20,000 pounds of block cheddar cheese and the tick size of $0.001 per pound. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 14th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 14th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Court Tosses Out Lawsuit on Biofuel Waivers

A federal court dismissed one of the multiple lawsuits challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of small refinery exemptions. The Washington, D.C., District Court of Appeals said in its ruling that the Advanced Biofuels Association didn’t “identify a final agency action” in the lawsuit it filed back in May of 2018. The biofuels group said the EPA was exceeding its authority when it granted a larger number of waivers under the Renewable Fuels Standard to small oil refineries. A DTN report says even though the court threw out the case, it did note that the industry concerns raised by the group seem valid. “To be sure, the EPA’s briefing and oral argument paint a troubling picture of intentionally shrouded and hidden agency law that could have left those troubled by the agency’s actions without a viable avenue for judicial review.” The EPA has granted a total of 85 waivers since 2016. Those waivers accounted for 4.04 billion gallons of biofuels that weren’t blended into the nation’s fuel supply. The EPA is currently seeking public comment on its proposal to account for gallons waived in the 2020 RFS volumes proposal, which biofuel and agricultural groups are not in favor of.

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Trump: Trade War is “Good for Business”

President Donald Trump defended his tariff policies during a speech on Tuesday at the Economic Club of New York. Politico says he denied that his erratic trade policies are causing uncertainty for U.S. businesses. Trump doubled down, saying the U.S. would “actually be in much worse shape” over the long term if he wasn’t aggressively challenging China right now. Despite the negative impact on farming, manufacturing, and other economic sectors, Trump has plenty of positive ammunition. Some of the positive economic data include unemployment down to 3.6 percent in October, while consumer confidence surveys remain high. However, Politico points out that economic growth is on a course to slow to about 2.3 percent this year. Growth may even be on track to slow further in 2020. The Port of Los Angeles says Trump’s tariffs are threatening nearly 1.5 million American jobs and over $186 billion in economic activity across the nation. Trump is also claiming that the U.S. and China are closing in on a partial ‘Phase One’ trade agreement, even though the sides are still negotiating over tariff rollbacks after the deal is signed.

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Trump Pressuring Pelosi for USMCA Vote

While the House impeachment hearings got started on Wednesday, Republicans are trying to make the case that the issue is making it difficult to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. Speaking Tuesday in New York, President Trump said the existing North American Free Trade Agreement is “disastrous,” even though the agreement made ag trade virtually tariff-free between the three countries. Trump says “nervous Nancy (Pelosi)” and other House Democrats are concentrating on “outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts which are going nowhere.” Trump says there is already enough Democrat support in the House of Representatives to pass USMCA, a sentiment shared by Chuck Grassley, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said Tuesday that his negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the USMCA are “progressing.” Neal told Agri-Pulse that the two of them will continue to talk this week. Neal says a recent trip to Canada to speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, couldn’t have gone any better. Trudeau says “they’ll do what they have to do to get this to the finish line.”

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First CottonU will Show Off New Cotton Trust Protocol

Cotton farmers who want to capitalize on sustainability for their operations should plan to attend the first-ever CottonU on December fifth at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in Texas. It’s a chance to learn about a new pilot program initiated by the National Cotton Council. The NCC is intending to quantify sustainability data through its U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. Craig Brown is vice president of producer affairs for the National Cotton Council and will keynote the Cotton U lunch. The National Cotton Council says the protocol was developed to help the U.S. cotton production sector to reduce its environmental footprint via specific sustainability goals targeted for 2025. The goals include a 13 percent increase in productivity or land used per pound of fiber, as well as an 18 percent increase in irrigation efficiency. Other targets include a 39 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 15 percent reduction in energy expenditures, as well as a 50 percent reduction in soil loss. Before these goals can be met, farmers must enroll and complete self-assessments to provide a baseline of data for the industry.

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Farmers Using Less Water to Irrigate

The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey results are out this week, showing that over 231,400 farms irrigated 55.9 million acres. That included 83.4 million acre-feet of water in the United States. By way of comparison, the 2013 survey showed there were just over 229,230 farms that irrigated 55.3 million acres, which included 88.5 million acre-feet of water. The results show that even though the number of farms irrigating, and the amount of land increased slightly over those five years, the total amount of water used to irrigate land actually declined. The 83.4 million acre-feet of water used to irrigate land in 2018 represent a 5.8 percent drop from 2013. The average acre-feet applied to land was 1.5, which is lower than the 1.6 in 2013. An acre-foot is the amount of water required to cover one acre to a depth of one foot. The largest portion of irrigated farmland acres in the U.S. was dedicated to cropland, including grains and oilseeds, vegetables, nurseries, greenhouses, as well as hay crops. The survey also shows that more acres are irrigated with sprinkler systems than with gravity irrigation.

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NASCAR Drivers Surpass 15 Million Miles on E15

At the Bluegrass Vacations 500 race, NASCAR reached a significant milestone, announcing that their drivers surpassed 15 million miles on the E15 ethanol blend. NASCAR adopted E15 in 2011 across its three national racing series to reduce emissions in their sport, all while maintaining the high-performance standard needed by drivers during every race. Growth Energy, the nation’s largest association representing ethanol producers and supporters, launched its American Ethanol Program in 2011, in conjunction with NASCAR’s decision to adopt E15. “American Ethanol’s partnership with NASCAR has been a fantastic platform to promote the benefits of cleaner-burning ethanol ever since the sport adopted it,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “NASCAR fans have now seen the fuel perform flawlessly for 15 million miles under the most demanding circumstances imaginable.” She says consumers have put E15 to the test for more than 11 billion miles of commutes, road trips, and picking kids up from school. “Whether on or off the track, day after day, mile after mile, E15 continues to be the smart choice for divers who care about their engines, reducing emissions, and saving money at the pump,” Skor adds.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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11-13-19 A Closer Look at NJC’s Upcoming Hemp Conference with Andy Bartlett, Associate Professor of Soils/Agronomy…

A Closer Look at NJC’s Upcoming Hemp Conference with Andy Bartlett, Associate Professor of Soils/Agronomy…

The BARN – Briggsdale, CO – November 13, 2019Industrial hemp in the United States went from a legal crop in the 18th and 19th centuries, to a banned substance in the 20th century, and has since returned as a legal crop in the 21st century. Just this year, the United States became the world’s third largest producer of hemp, behind China and Canada. And back on Oct 30th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it was establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and creating a regulatory framework around hemp production in the United States. According to the USDA, an interim final rule formalizing the program was published in the Federal Register which would allow hemp to be grown under federally-approved plans and make hemp producers eligible for a number of agricultural programs.

Now in advance of detailed federal hemp guidelines, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) launched the Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan (CHAMP) earlier this year. The broad, collaborative stakeholder-based initiative is designed to outline best practices and define a well structured supply chain for hemp in order to establish a strong market for the state’s farming communities. By the way, to date, there have been 14 CHAMP stakeholder meetings hosted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, as well as three public input meetings across the state. In Colorado, more than 88,000 acres are currently registered to grow industrial hemp, although not all of those acres are planted with hemp, and CDA has issued 2,634 hemp registrations as of October 29, 2019.

The interim final rule goes into effect immediately. USDA has 60 days to approve Colorado’s plan after it is submitted. Anyone can view the rule online at https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp . Keep in mind, once state and tribal plans are in place, hemp producers will be eligible for a number of USDA programs, including insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection. For information on available programs, visit www.farmers.gov/hemp.

To help producers learn more about the newly “popular” industrial hemp crop and its popularity, Northeastern Junior College and the Colorado Small Business Development Center is hosting Hemp Conference in Sterling, CO on December 17th. Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio to discuss that event in much more detail is Andy Bartlett, Associate Professor of Soils/Agronomy at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling

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To learn more and to register for the NJC Hemp Symposium – CLICK HERE

RELATED AG NEWS STORY POST

11-13-19 Make plans to attend the Northern Water Fall Symposium on November 20th in Loveland, CO

Make plans to attend the Northern Water Fall Symposium on November 20th in Loveland, CO

Northern Water Fall Symposium to highlight regional issues

BERTHOUD – – Experts from across the region will gather for the 2019 Northern Water Fall Symposium, set for 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at The Embassy Suites, 4705 Clydesdale Parkway, Loveland.

Unlike the Fall Water Users meetings of past years that focused on Northern Water projects and operations, the Fall Symposium will look at the larger water policy issues that affect Northeastern Colorado and the people who live here.
The first panel will explore water reliability and the effects of climate change in the region. Jeff Lukas from the University of Colorado and Meagan Smith of Fort Collins Utilities will discuss approaches to better understand the uncertainty climate change presents for the future of water deliveries.

Second, a group with decades of combined experience in Colorado River water policy will discuss the uncharted future facing all Colorado residents because of the hydrologic uncertainty in the state.

Panelists include: Continue reading

11-13-19 US Senators Bennet, Romney Request Review of USDA’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program

US Senators Bennet, Romney Request Review of USDA’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program

Senators Seek to Improve Program, Better Serve Communities Recovering from Wildfires

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources, and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP). Continue reading

11-13-19 USDA NASS Colorado Potato Varieties Report

USDA NASS Colorado Potato Varieties Report

POTATO VARIETIES 2019  – SAN LUIS VALLEY, COLORADO

This report provides the results of a special survey of potato growers in the San Luis Valley, which was conducted to evaluate potato varieties planted for the 2019 crop. The survey was conducted by the USDA/NASS Mountain Region Field Office with funding from the Colorado State University, San Luis Valley Research Center. Data was collected from potato growers by return mail or by telephone interviews with enumerators. The survey was not sampled to provide a direct expansion of seeded acreage by variety or a measure of the sampling error. Acreage planted to fall potatoes in the San Luis Valley was estimated at 48,600 acres. Continue reading

11-13-19 USDA NASS Colorado Census Irrigation and Water Management Survey Data Availability

USDA NASS Colorado Census Irrigation and Water Management Survey Data Availability

2018 Irrigation and Water Management Data Now Available

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – November 13, 2019 – There were 231,474 farms with 55.9 million irrigated acres, which included 83.4 million acrefeet of water applied in the United States, according to the 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey results, published today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). In 2013, the irrigation survey results showed that there were 229,237 farms with 55.3 million irrigated acres, which included 88.5 million acre-feet of water. The results show that though the number of farms irrigating and the amount of land irrigated increased slightly between 2013 and 2018, the total amount of water used for irrigation
declined.

“The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey, formerly titled the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey, expands on the data collected in the 2017 Census of Agriculture,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “This report offers detailed, comprehensive, up-to-date information specific to the agriculture industry’s use and management of water supplies.”

Data highlights from the 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey include: Continue reading

11-13-19 NASS-CO RELEASES 2019 ANNUAL STATISTICAL BULLETIN

NASS-CO RELEASES 2019 ANNUAL STATISTICAL BULLETIN

The Colorado Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the publication of the 2019 Colorado Agricultural Statistics bulletin.

The current bulletin can be found on the USDA NASS Colorado website using the following link:
https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Colorado/Publications/Annual_Statistical_Bulletin/Bulletin2019.pdf

11-13-19 RAAA News: American Red Program to Meet the Needs of the American Producer

American Red is a new partnership between the Red Angus Association of America and Santa Gertrudis Breeders International that will provide commercial producers a valuable blend of maternal and adaptive traits that will fit into the value-added segment of the beef industry.

American Red Program to Meet the Needs of the American Producer

by: Brandi Buzzard Frobose, RAAA Director of Communications

DENVER – The Red Angus Association of America and Santa Gertrudis Breeders International are collaborating to provide the beef industry with a unique blend of maternal traits, adaptability, growth and marbling – all packaged with a heat-tolerant, red hide – into a new program for the commercial beef producer called American Red.

The offspring of this crossbreeding program will be well suited for commercial producers who are seeking quality replacement females and steers that fit in the value-added segment of the beef industry.

Tom Brink, RAAA CEO, stated, “This innovative program has huge potential to impact the southern portion of the U.S. beef business, as well as heat-challenged areas where cattle are produced around the globe.”

American Red has been tested and proven at the King Ranch, in Kingsville, Texas. Numerous other breeders in the southern U.S. have also begun using this strategic cross to combat the harsh environment with marked success.

“This partnership emphasizes the value that the cross provides to an industry desperate for increased longevity, fertility, adaptability and efficiency,” added John Ford, SGBI Executive Director. 

While the leadership at RAAA and SGBI are still finalizing key details, program specs for American Red will be as follows: Continue reading

11-13-19 CBB CEO Greg Hanes Op-Ed: Where Your Checkoff Dollar Goes

Greg Hanes, CEO, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

THE BEEF CHECKOFF: WHERE YOUR DOLLAR GOES, PART 1

by Greg Hanes, CEO, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Created 34 years ago through a vote of producers all over the country, the Beef Checkoff launched to add support to the industry through promotion and research to ultimately grow beef demand. After all, if beef producers aren’t promoting their product, who will?  The program started in 1985 with a simple process: pay $1 per head of cattle at the time of sale.  It’s something you may only do few times a year or maybe you do it several times a month.  Most likely it shows up as a line item on your sale barn receipt or you might send in a check through the private treaty program. Did you know those dollars are contributing a larger, multi-faceted program?

And do you know the journey your dollar takes once it leaves your hand?

THE BEEF CHECKOFF DOLLAR Continue reading

11-13-19 CDA: Nominations sought for Colorado Noxious Weed Advisory Committee

CDA: Nominations sought for Colorado Noxious Weed Advisory Committee

Nominations due by December 20th 

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is seeking nominations to fill three important positions on the state Noxious Weed Advisory Committee. The 17 members of the committee are appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and play an important role in shaping CDA and state policy concerning noxious weeds. Their recommendations help protect landowners, agricultural lands and the environment.
The primary responsibility of the committee is to discuss Colorado’s weed management challenges and craft solutions that best reflect public and private interests. It then makes recommendations to CDA concerning designation of state noxious weeds; classification of state noxious weeds; development and implementation of state weed management plans; and prescribed techniques for eradication, containment, and suppression of state noxious weeds.
Members meet quarterly at CDA’s Broomfield office, with at least one field trip and meeting outside of the Denver area annually. Terms are two years in length and appointees are limited to two full consecutive terms each.

 Positions opening in December are:

Continue reading

Livestock Exchange, LLC Weekly Update…

Livestock Exchange logo

(BARN Media – Briggsdale, CO) – Each week, Auctioneer Tyler Knode with Livestock Exchange, LLC. in Brush, CO will be inside the BARN on the Colorado Ag News Network providing a RECAP of the previous week’s auctions and also a PREVIEW of upcoming cattle & hay auctions…

CLICK THE AUDIO LINK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THIS WEEK’S UPDATE…

11-12-19 Livestock Exchange, LLC  Recap & Preview

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11-12-19 Livestock Exchange, LLC  Extended Preview

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**********LE, LLC. ARCHIVES************* Continue reading

09-09-19 Get Registered for CAWA’s 2019 Ag Water Summit in Loveland Dec 2-3

Get Registered for CAWA’s 2019 Ag Water Summit in Loveland Dec 2-3

Colorado’s Ag Water Summit brings together agricultural leaders from across the state, water professionals, elected officials, and decision makers to discuss agricultural water issues. We have a Water Plan, but where does Ag fit into implementing the Water Plan? We plan to discuss Ag’s role in infrastructure, healthy rivers, the Colorado River Compact, water quality, and how to maintain a healthy Ag economy into the future.

SPEAKERS & TOPICS

SPONSORSHIPS

REGISTRATION

Continue reading

11-13-19 CCA and CCALT: Colorado Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

CCA and CCALT: Colorado Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Nominations are now being accepted for the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award® honoring agricultural landowners in Colorado who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 20 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Colorado, the $10,000 award is presented with the Colorado Cattlemen’s AssociationColorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land TrustTri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Continue reading

11-13-19 US Wheat Associates: Long-Sought Opening of Brazilian Wheat TRQ Ahead

U.S. Wheat Associates: Long-Sought Opening of Brazilian Wheat TRQ Ahead

ARLINGTON, Virginia — A significant impediment to U.S. wheat sales to the large Brazilian market is likely to end soon. Brazil’s government has announced it intends to implement a tariff rate quota (TRQ) allowing up to 750,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat to be imported duty-free from countries outside the Mercosur trade agreement.

Brazil first agreed to this TRQ some 24 years ago when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Brazilian government is now moving forward with developing a final process and date for implementing the TRQ.  Through U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the U.S. government, wheat farmers have worked and negotiated for several years with Brazil’s government to open the TRQ and create a more open market there for U.S. hard red winter (HRW) and soft red winter (SRW) wheat.

“Brazil is a quality-focused wheat market and its flour millers recognize that U.S. wheat can help them better meet their customers’ needs,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Opening the TRQ will give those millers more consistent access to our wheat classes while still having the option to source from other countries. That is how the market should work and we welcome this opportunity.”

“This is a perfect example of how fulfilling commitments can work for all trading partners,” said Doug Goyings, USW Chairman and a wheat farmer from Paulding, Ohio. “We want to recognize Ambassador Gregg Doud, our Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, as well as the career staff of USDA and USTR for their focus on this issue. They have raised it multiple times with their counterparts in Brazil.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, November 13th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, November 13th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farmers Turning to Riskier Loans to Stay in Business

Weather challenges, trade tensions, and long-term financial struggles continue to make life difficult in the U.S. agricultural sector. The Wall Street Journal says those headwinds are forcing an increasing number of farmers and ranchers to take on high-interest loans from lenders outside of the ag sector, just to stay in business. The more traditional farm banks are offering less money and placing tighter restrictions on their loans. That’s forcing cash-strapped farmers to go to other lending sources for the capital they need to stay afloat. Financial services providers that are less regulated can offer significant help to producers. However, those loans can be treacherous to farmers that fall behind, with interest rates twice those charged by the more typical ag lenders. Heath Jobe is a farmer from Arkansas who recently lost a crop to dry weather. His loan payments carried a nine percent interest rate and piled up quickly, while his request for a new loan was rejected. Producers are increasingly falling behind on their loans and it’s putting a squeeze on ag lenders too. Farmers face almost $416 billion in debt this year, which is the highest number since the 1980s farm crisis.

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Opportunity Ahead for More U.S. Wheat Exports to Brazil

Brazil is set to open a tariff-rate quota on wheat imports, a potential opportunity for U.S. wheat producers. The quota will allow 750,000 metric tons of wheat to enter Brazil duty-free from outside of South America. The agreement comes 24 years after Brazil joined the World Trade Organization in 1995. The Fence Post Dot Com says both U.S. Wheat Associates and officials in the U.S. Government have worked for years to open the tariff rate quota and establish a more accessible market in Brazil for U.S. hard red winter wheat and soft red winter wheat. USW President Steve Peterson says, “Brazil is a quality-focused wheat market and its flour millers recognize that U.S. wheat can help them to better meet their customers’ needs. “ Opening the TRQ gives their millers more consistent access to our wheat classes while still having an option to source from other countries if they choose to.” He says that’s how markets are supposed to work. The Brazilian government is moving ahead on a formal process and date for implementing the TRQ. U.S. Wheat Associates Chair Doug Goyings says, “This is a perfect example of how fulfilling commitments can work for all trading partners.”

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Ag Lender Survey Shows Lower Profitability and Higher Concerns

The American Bankers Association teamed up with Farmer Mac for their Fall 2019 Ag Lender Survey. The biggest takeaway from the report is that the agricultural economy and farm income remain under stress, with little if any signs of improvement ahead in 2020. Over 82 percent of lenders in the survey said farm profits were being squeezed this year, with every region in the survey reporting profitability declines in their respective areas. The top concerns for producers in the survey included income, liquidity, and leverage, but trade, tariffs, and weather moved up on the list. The top concerns for lenders included credit quality, competition for loans, as well as weaker loan demand. Lender sentiment remained cautious between August of 2018 and August of 2019. A similar percentage of lenders reported farm profitability declines, increasing farm leverage, and increasing loan default rates. Dairy, grains, and cattle were the sectors that gave lenders the most concern, while they were less concerned about the swine, poultry, and vegetable sectors. Survey respondents generally expect higher loan delinquency rates going into 2020 for both production and real estate. In spite of quality concerns over credit, lenders remain positive about approvals.

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America’s Largest Milk Producer Files for Bankruptcy

Dean Foods, a 94-year-old milk producer, is filing for bankruptcy. The largest milk producer in the country is struggling as Americans are no longer drinking as much milk from cows. This year has been especially difficult as company sales dropped seven percent in the first half of this year, with profits falling 14 percent. A CNN Dot Com article says Dean Foods stock has lost 80 percent of its value. The company manufactures some of the more recognizable milk and dairy products in the country, including Land O’ Lakes and Organic Valley. The company blames its struggles on declining consumption in white milk. Company debt has made it difficult for Dean Foods to fund all of its workers pensions. In a statement, the company says it’s working with the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative on a potential deal in which the cooperative would buy almost all of the company. Sales of cow’s milk has declined for the past four years. Over the past 52 weeks, white milk sales totaled around $12 billion dollars. Another problem Dean Foods faced is Walmart. Once one of Dean Food’s biggest customers, Walmart dropped them last year after building its own dairy plant.

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Senate Democrats Report Says Trump Trade Policies Pick Winners and Losers

Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer led a group of fellow Democrats in releasing a report on the Trump Administration’s trade policies. The report says the administration’s agricultural trade aid program “is picking winners and losers in their attempt to aid farmers affected by President Trump’s turbulent trade agenda.” The Democrats say the data shows that in the wake of trade uncertainty created by the president’s actions, the $25 billion in mitigation payments to help farmers has been distributed “unevenly” across the country, benefiting some regions of the country more than others. The senators wrote a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, saying “instead of taking a careful approach as Congress did in the recent bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill, the USDA has replaced markets with short-term inequitable payouts that lack transparency.” The report goes on to say that “the administration’s Market Facilitation Program has treated farmers “unfairly” by sending 95 percent of the top payment rates to farmers in the south, who they say have been hurt less by the trade disputes than farmers in other regions of the country. They also say the administration’s policies have helped farms owned by billionaires and foreign-owned companies. As an example, the Democrats point out that $90 million in purchase contracts went to a Brazilian company.

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Justice Department Asks for Stay in Sugar Decision

Late last week, the U.S. Justice Department filed a motion requesting a 90-day stay in the Court of International Trade’s ruling that an amended Mexico-U.S. trade agreement wasn’t valid. The Hagstrom Report says an agreement on Mexican sugar imports to the U.S. was amended in 2017. However, the court said that the amended agreement wasn’t valid because the Commerce Department didn’t release all the notes of meetings held during the negotiations. The American Sugar Alliance says U.S. sugar producers, as well as Mexico’s sugar industry and government officials, support the U.S. request for a stay. Phillip Hayes, an ASA spokesman, says, “This 90-day stay is necessary to ensure that everyone has enough time to file comments with the Department of Commerce on the suspension agreements, as well as gives the Commerce Department time to follow proper procedure during the process.” Hayes points out that it’s important to remember the court didn’t comment on the merits of the amendments and was instead based purely on record-keeping procedures by the Department of Commerce. “Mexico’s government and sugar industry have both asked the U.S. government to reinstate the suspension agreements without change, something U.S. producers support,” Hayes adds. The Commerce Department has now published the suspension agreements without change and is looking for comments from interested parties.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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