ASFMRA Ag News - August 3, 2021

By ASFMRA Press posted 08-02-2021 10:02 PM

  

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Dominican Republic to Kill Thousands of Pigs Over Swine Fever Outbreak


The Dominican Republic will slaughter tens of thousands of pigs after detecting outbreaks of African swine fever in 11 of the country's 32 provinces, authorities said on Monday.

Fernando Duran, administrator of the state-run Banco Agricola, told a news conference the government will pay pig farmers the market price of each animal slaughtered.

Announcement of the slaughter comes after authorities sent 389 samples from pig farms across the country to U.S. laboratories after registering the widespread death of animals in three provinces in the last month.

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NFL Linebacker Avery Williamson Gives Back to 4-H


Were it not for the foundation that 4-H provided to Avery Williamson as a youth, the NFL linebacker might not have found his way back to the family farm in Tennessee as an adult.

Williamson, a free-agent linebacker who has spent the bulk of his professional playing career since 2014 with the Titans, is a fourth-generation farmer. His great-grandfather started the family legacy in agriculture, and his grandfather had a dairy farm and grew crops such as corn and tomatoes. Williamson and his father focused on cattle production — specifically black angus.

They also had three large gardens on the property. “We loved eating out of the gardens,” Williamson said. “We had everything from watermelon, corn, peas, green beans, greens, tomatoes, onions — everything.”


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ASFMRA President Dennis Reyman, AFM, ARA Talks Crop Conditions on RFD-TV


The results of the ASFMRA's third Crop Conditions Survey was released Wednesday, July 28, with a focus on the pollination phase for corn and seed development in soybeans, as well as the wheat harvest. President Dennis Reyman, AFM, ARA made an appearance on RFD-TV's Market Day Report to talk about the survey results.


Watch the Video Here


Indiana Farmland Prices Hit Record High in 2021


The Purdue Farmland Value and Cash Rents Survey suggests farmland prices across Indiana have risen to all-time highs in June of 2021. Statewide, top quality farmland averaged $9,785 per acre, up 14.1% from the same time last year. The high growth rate for top-quality farmland was closely followed by the growth in average- and poor-quality farmland prices, which increased by 12.5% (to $8,144) and 12.1% (to $6,441), respectively. Across all land quality classes, 2021 per-acre farmland prices exceeded the previous records set in 2014.

“A unique combination of economic forces, including net farm income, expected income growth, crop and livestock prices, interest rates, exports, inflation, alternative investments, U.S. policy, and farmers’ liquidity, all played a major factor in the price increase we’re experiencing,” said Todd H. Kuethe, Purdue associate professor and the Schrader Endowed Chair in Farmland Economics and survey author.

That’s rare, he said.

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Charitable Conservation Easements: Is There a Need For Tax Planning?


The Biden administration wants to encourage preservation of land and water resources. Nancy Ortmeyer Kuhn of Jackson & Campbell writes that although tax incentives are often used to encourage progress toward that goal, bills pending in both the Senate and House of Representatives would limit the amount landowners could deduct for granting conservation easements. While the legislation is unlikely to pass in its current form—now is a good time to consider tax planning around conservation easements in the event that it is enacted.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update


House Agriculture Committee Passes 2020 and 2021 WHIP+ Bill

The House Agriculture Committee passed an amendment to H.R. 267 with unanimous bipartisan support last week. The amendment authorizes ad hoc disaster payments for crop years 2020 and 2021 under a modified WHIP+ payment structure (see section-by-section description). It authorizes $8.5 billion, subject to appropriations, to pay for the ad hoc disaster payments.

Some of the modifications are:

Causes of loss
  • Maintains the causes of loss that were included for 2018 and 2019
  • Specifically refers to: smoke taint in wine grapes due to wildfires; high winds; derechos; excessive heat; freeze (including a polar vortex).
  • Expands the drought trigger from D3 on the drought monitor to a Secretarial drought designation (which is D2 for eight consecutive weeks), or more severe, and contiguous counties.
  • Includes losses due to other disruptions (including power outages or curtailments) associated with the effects of a qualifying disaster event.

Administrative Changes
  • Continues the requirement that participants in this program must purchase crop insurance coverage of at least 60%, or NAP where insurance isn’t available, for two years after receiving assistance.
  • Includes language intended to simply the program, including by directing USDA to streamline the application process and to reduce the workload of county offices.
  • Use of net indemnities – under the existing WHIP+ rules, the payment calculation accounts for the actual value received and any gross crop insurance indemnity. The bill would account for the producer-paid premium in the calculation.
  • Unharvested acres are treated in the same manner as under NAP.
  • Clarifies that all insured acreage shall be eligible, regardless of whether such acreage is the initial acreage or not.
  • On payment limitations, the bill maintains the existing regulations, with some exceptions:
    • Specialty crops or higher value crops are subject to the 2017 WHIP payment limitations.
    • Average Adjusted Gross Income is based on the 2017 – 2019 tax years.
    • Limits are renewed for each of 2020 and 2021; and
    • CFAP specialty entity rules apply for operations structured as corporations, LLCs, limited partnerships, trusts, and estates.
  • Includes a mechanism for payments to be made to producers through sugar processors and dairy coops.
  • Continues the authority for USDA to provide payments in the form of block grants.
Like the transportation bill, see below, the action taken by the House Agriculture Committee has a long way to go before farmers see any ad hoc disaster payments. The House did complete its version of the FY 2022 agriculture appropriations bill last week and it does not include any funding for disaster payments. The Senate plans to mark-up its version of the agriculture appropriations bill at the subcommittee level today and full committee level later this week. Senator Hoeven (R-ND), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, has stated he intends to fund WHIP+ payments for 2020 and 2021.

Senators Reach Transportation Agreement

The Senate is moving forward with a bipartisan agreement, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. A vote could come as early as Thursday this week in the Senate. The text of the bill, 2702 pages long, was released late yesterday afternoon. The bill authorizes $550 billion in new spending of which $110 billion is for roads and bridges, $73 billion for the nations power and grid system, $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $65 billion for broad band improvements and $39.2 billion is for public transportation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has stated she will not bring the transportation bill up for a vote in the House until the Democrats $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill passes. The House is currently in recess until after Labor Day. Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) plans to bring up the budget reconciliation bill next week in the Senate.

Senate Agriculture Committee Considers Robert Bonnie Nomination for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conservation

Last week Robert Bonnie, President Biden’s nominee for Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee. The FPAC Under Secretary manages the Risk Management Agency along with the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. Mr. Bonnie in his written and oral testimony expressed strong support for the farm safety net and said crop insurance is “vital” for farmers. He will likely be confirmed for the position by the Senate.

USDA Estimates $57.7 Billion in Total Federal Aid Last Year

The Economic Research Service published a paper detailing total federal aid provided to farmers and farm families during 2020.

The sources of aid included USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, as well as federal stimulus payments and pandemic unemployment benefits. Altogether, the COVID-related aid totaled $35.2 billion. The remaining assistance came from farm bill commodity and conservation programs, $13.1 billion, the Market Facilitation Program, $3.7 billion, and farmers’ net indemnities from crop insurance, $5.7 billion.

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