Ag News

ASFMRA AgNews - June 4, 2019

By ASFMRA Press posted 06-04-2019 07:57


12 Great Plains Bankers Share Economic Insights

Farm income and agricultural credit conditions continue to deteriorate, according to the latest Ag Credit Survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

“With low income weighing on farm finances, the pace of decline in farm loan repayment rates increased slightly,” write Nathan Kauffman, vice president and Omaha branch executive, and Ty Kreitman, assistant economist, for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “In addition, carry-over debt increased again for many borrowers and bankers continued to restructure debt and deny a modest amount of new loan requests due to cash flow shortages.”

Read what they have to say.

Simple Farms App Tracks Margins, Breakeven Points

“No more clutter. Show me the margins. That’s the beauty of Simple Farms,” says producer Scott Scheimer.

Frustrated with the bottlenecks of data collection, redundancy of inputs, never-ending forms, complicated programs, lost data, excuses and heavyweight expense on his Colorado farm, Scheimer has created a standalone tool to help growers determine breakeven points by precisely tracking field inputs. The result is a bottom-line, gamified app and program: Simple Farms.

Scheimer, 48, farms sandy loam on the flatlands of eastern Colorado, 30 miles south of Burlington on I-70 in Cheyenne Wells, a quick jump from the Kansas line. Almost entirely dryland, he grows corn, grain sorghum, millet, soybeans and wheat. “Margins are so thin and we have to pay such close attention. I wanted to develop a tool to track all of that.”

Discover the App.

USDA Offers Explainer On $16 Billion Trade War Buffer To Farmers

The Trump administration will spend up to $16 billion to buffer the impact of trade war on farmers and ranchers this year and billions of dollars of additional aid may flow in the future, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday. “That depends on China.”

Some $14.5 billion will be available to producers of row crops, fruits, vegetables, nuts, pork, and dairy, said Perdue and a half dozen senior USDA officials during a teleconference. The government will send $1.4 billion to buy and donate surplus crops to food banks and schools. And it will award $100 million in grants to develop new markets overseas.

USDA sets trade aid at $16 billion, more possible in future.

Trade War Expands Government Role in Agriculture Despite Decades of Free Market

The multibillion-dollar Trump tariff payments to farmers, born of the China-U.S. trade war, are expanding the government role in agriculture despite decades of free-market reforms that told farmers to pursue profits rather than subsidies. “I don’t like to see that precedent, but farmers need the assistance,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, father of the 1995 “freedom to farm” law that removed most federal controls over what farmers grow, on Tuesday.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the USDA, at President Trump’s direction, will spend $15 to $20 billion this year in a new round of trade mitigation payments. Details “will be forthcoming shortly, but we want to be clear that the program is being designed to avoid skewing planting decisions one way or another,” said a USDA spokesperson.

Will this precedent continue?

By 2024, United States Vertical Farming Market 2019, Explores New Growth Opportunities

United States Vertical Farming Market Research Report studies detail outlook of industry with all the needful information to frame tactical business decisions and propose strategic growth plans. This report also offers a comprehensive insight into the development policies and plans in addition to manufacturing processes and cost structures.

The report categorizes United States Vertical Farming market by by Stretching Type and application. Detailed analysis of key players, along with key growth strategies adopted by them is also covered in this.

Read the full report.

Appraisal Subcommittee to Consider North Dakota Waiver Request

On May 30, the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) published a notice in the Federal Register that it will consider an appraisal license credential waiver request from the State of North Dakota. The notice starts a 30-day comment period which ends July 1. Following the comment period, the ASC will hold a hearing within 15 days to grant or deny the request. ASFMRA will provide comments during the 30 window and we are working with other appraisal organizations on our comment letter. You can read the Federal Register notice here.

Senate Passes Disaster Bill

The Senate passed by a vote of 85 – 8 a $19.1 billion emergency disaster bill on May 23rd. President Trump has indicated he will sign bill. The House is scheduled to take up the Senate passed disaster bill on Monday, June 3rd. Both the Senate and House were in recess last week for the Memorial Day recess. The bill will be considered under the House Suspension Calendar which limits debate and allows no amendments. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has predicted the bill will pass with overwhelming support.

The bill includes $3 billion for ad hoc crop disaster payments. The payment authority is structured similar to the 2018 Wildfire, Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP). 2018 and 2019 losses due to hurricanes, wildfires, volcanoes, flooding, snow storms, and tornadoes are eligible. On-farm stored commodities, including milk, crops prevented from planting, harvested adulterated grapes, trees, bushes and vines are eligible for payment in addition to crop losses.

It gives USDA broad discretionary authority to structure indemnities. USDA can pay up to 90% of losses for producers with crop insurance or enrolled in NAP and up to 70% of losses for producers without crop insurance or not enrolled in NAP. Producers receiving a 2019 disaster payment are required to buy crop insurance for the next two crop years if crop insurance is available or to enroll in NAP for two years where crop insurance is not available.

The disaster bill also requires the Risk Management Agency to offer coverage for hemp under the Whole Farm Revenue Protection policy starting with the 2020 reinsurance year (Section 107).

Farm Bureau Weighs in on Trade Aid and Disaster Assistance

In a letter sent last week to Secretary Perdue, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) weighed in on the confusion that has resulted over USDA’s announcement of the second round of Trade Assistance. AFBF is requesting that Trade Assistance be paid to tobacco growers, who are currently not eligible but have suffered lost Chinese markets. AFBF is also asking USDA to consider making prevented planted acres

eligible for trade assistance payments in part because spring prices set for insurance purposes were artificially low due to the ongoing trade dispute with China. The letter also requests that disaster payments be made available for all areas of the U.S. experiencing planting delays or suffering from a natural disaster.

You can read the letter here.

EPA Allows Year-Round Sale of E-15

Last week EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler finalized regulations that remove the key regulatory barrier to using gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol (E15) during the summer driving season. The regulation will also change aspects of the renewable identification number compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to increase transparency and deter price manipulation. The regulation adopts the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 during the summer months. This removes the most significant barrier to wider sales of E15 in the summer months, thus expanding the market for ethanol in transportation fuel.

House Subcommittee Passes FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee passed the FY 2020 agriculture spending bill by voice vote on May 23rd. The bill provides $58.361million for the Risk Management Agency Salaries and Expenses roughly $2.3 million more than the Administration requested for FY 2020 in its budget request. The bill also provides $207 million for the Farm Production and Conservation Business Center which is equal to the Administration’s budget request and $1.4 billion for the Farm Service Agency Salaries and Expense account.

None of the President’s proposals to cut, cap or means test crop insurance are included in the House subcommittee bill.