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ASFMRA Ag News - October 11, 2022

By ASFMRA Press posted 10-10-2022 10:41 PM

  

Drastically Low River Levels Impacting Grain Transportation


Severely low water levels on the Mississippi River have slowed grain transportation. South Central Illinois farmer Dan Hiestand tells Brownfield this is a major concern as they harvest corn and soybeans.

“The river is low so they can only fill the barges half to two-thirds full to keep them from grounding. That is a concern, especially right now during harvest time, when barges are most in demand.”

Hiestand says as a result, freight rates have skyrocketed. USDA data indicates the cost per ton to ship from St. Louis to the gulf has gone up more than 200% from last year.

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Rent Stays Steady, Even as Land Prices Jump


Land values – both cropland and pastureland – rose in North Dakota over the last year.

At the same time, NDSU reported state cropland rents were steady, while pastureland rents were virtually unchanged.

“In North Dakota, we found virtually no difference in pastureland rental rates from last year to this year, and I believe a big reason for that was the big drought that we had,” said Bryon Parman, NDSU Extension agricultural finance specialist.

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Pork Industry Takes Fight Over California Law to U.S. Supreme Court


The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Tuesday in an industry challenge to the constitutionality of a California animal welfare law in a case that could undermine the power of states to regulate a range of issues within their own borders.

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation are appealing a lower court's decision to throw out their lawsuit seeking to invalidate a 2018 ballot initiative passed by voters barring sales in California of pork, veal and eggs from animals whose confinement failed to meet minimum space requirements.

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A Harvest of Gratitude: Beloved Family Farm Lives on After Community Effort


“I would say that we’re very blessed to have what we have this year. All I can say is that next year will hopefully be better,” Sasack said. “This spring, I was all excited, ready to plant crops like we normally do, business as usual. It was probably mid-February that I found out that the farm was being listed for sale.”

In late March, family infighting over inheritance and the family trust that oversees Butternut Farm forced the farm’s acreage and all of its equipment onto the auction block. Using the money that he had, Sasack bought back the equipment that he could.

That’s when community members that wished to remain anonymous took care of the rest.

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Just Outside Kansas City, a Giant Solar Farm Project Is Pitting Neighbor Against Neighbor


For years, the Florida-based company NextEra Energy Resources has been talking about building a solar farm that would span Johnson and Douglas counties. But it wasn’t until this spring that both county commissions passed regulations allowing the process to move forward.

If built, the West Gardner Solar Project would be the largest in Kansas — generating 320 megawatts, enough to power thousands of residences and businesses.

But not everyone agrees that’s a good thing. While some people are eager for Kansas to fully embrace renewable energy, many residents say they don’t want the countryside — their countryside — turned into industrial sprawl.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update


Shutdown Avoided, CR Through December 16, 2022

The federal government’s fiscal year started October 1st. Like so many previous years, Congress has not completed the 12 appropriation bills to fund the government. The Senate passed on a bi-partisan vote of 72-25 a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government at FY 2022 levels through December 16, 2022. The House passed the CR by a vote of 230 to 201 and President Biden signed it into law before the end of the fiscal year.

The CR avoids a government shutdown. It does not contain any new funding for agricultural crop disaster payments. Such funding for crop year 2022, will likely be provided in an omnibus appropriation bill in December. Prospects for the omnibus bill depend on the outcome of the November election and whether party leaders can reach an agreement on top-line spending levels. Republicans are seeking increases in defense spending, while Democrats are pushing for more domestic program spending. Both the House and Senate have departed Washington to campaign and will not return until the week of November 14, 2022.

Senate Agriculture Committee Leaders Urge Expansion of Margin Protection Tools

At the end of September, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger urging the department to accelerate the expansion of margin protection risk management tools. Citing record high input costs and extreme volatility for commodity prices, the Senate agriculture leaders say USDA should expand education of existing margin protection tools as well. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Thompson (R-PA) has also been talking about expanding the use of margin protection programs in the upcoming farm bill.

RMA Expands PACE

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced that it has expanded its Post-Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE) insurance option for corn farmers who “split-apply” nitrogen to include most counties in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin where non-irrigated corn is insurable. RMA made PACE available in the Spring of 2022 to support stewardship of fertilizer, and it will continue to be offered in select counties of Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota.

State Departments of Agriculture Release Farm Bill Priorities

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) released its 2023 farm bill platform last week. You will notice the platform is a bit tilted towards disaster program equity and administration. NASDA does recognize that crop insurance and disaster payments must complement one another. It also emphasizes the need for better insurance products for specialty crops.

Farm Bill Reading Material

Two articles worth reading as we head into the next farm bill were recently released. The American Farm Bureau Federation recently published an article detailing the history of disaster programs. The authors correctly predict the next farm bill will include some consideration/ debate about a standing disaster program, which has potential impacts on crop insurance.

The other article published by the Farm Foundation is authored by two former Senator Stabenow (D-MI) staffers. While the history part of the piece is noteworthy, their discussion of how climate policy could drive the next farm bill and the need for a greater public/ private approach is interesting and may provide some insight into Senator Stabenow’s approach to the 2023 farm bill.

In Memory: Lynn E. Rickard and Roy W. Bracey

Lynn E. Rickard, ARA-Retired - Bakersfield, California
The ASFMRA was honored and pleased to welcome Lynn into the membership of the ASFMRA in 1990 as an Associate member. He obtained his Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA) designation in 1992 and maintained his Accredited membership until 2021 when he transferred to the Retired membership classification. Lynn volunteered as a member on the Government Relations Committee in 2003 and again from 2005 to 2014. He also volunteered as a member on the Bylaws Committee from 2002 to 2003 and again from 2005 to 2012. The ASFMRA has just been notified that Lynn passed away in January 2022. He made many friends through his association with the Society who will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Roy W. Bracey, AFM-Retired - Chenoa, Illinois

The ASFMRA was honored and pleased to welcome Roy into the membership of the ASFMRA in 1988 as an Associate member. He obtained his Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) designation in 1995. He maintained his Accredited membership until 2020 when he transferred to the Retired membership classification. The ASFMRA has just learned that Roy passed away. He made many friends through his association with the ASFMRA who will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Peggy, and his entire family.

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Roy Bracey was an asset to the Illinois Chapter and represented the membership well.  He was a true gentleman and was well-liked by those who knew and met him. We will all miss him and wish his family well especially during this time.

Winnie Stortzum, ARA, ALC, GRI
Farmers National Company
40-year member of the Illinois Chapter