Tag Archives: USDA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s signing of legislation that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and declaration of a national emergency at the southern border:

“I am pleased that Congress has passed, and President Trump has signed, funding for USDA for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2019. We will be moving at full speed on all of our responsibilities, making good on our motto by doing right and feeding everyone. Since Congress did not act to protect our southern border, the President has also declared a national emergency, which helps him fulfill a clear promise to protect our national security interests. He is exercising his Constitutional authority, as presidents from both parties have done many times in the past.

“Even with the passage of the appropriations bill, Congress still has unfinished business in areas of great concern for USDA and the customers we serve. Farmers and ranchers were battered last year by a series of monumental storms, robbing them of their livelihoods and inflicting damage well beyond the financial risks they normally assume in their operations. These are the men and women who dedicate their lives to feeding, fueling, and clothing this nation, and we cannot turn our backs on them when they need assistance. Just as importantly, another devastating wildfire season left our Forest Service badly in need of replenished funds to fight fires, remove excess fuels, and conduct necessary forest management. Without these resources, we risk falling behind in forest maintenance and inviting even more severe seasons in the future. I will continue to work with the President and the Congress to address these critical issues.”

Washington, D.C., – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s signing of legislation that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and declaration of a national emergency at the southern border:

“I am pleased that Congress has passed, and President Trump has signed, funding for USDA for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2019. We will be moving at full speed on all of our responsibilities, making good on our motto by doing right and feeding everyone. Since Congress did not act to protect our southern border, the President has also declared a national emergency, which helps him fulfill a clear promise to protect our national security interests. He is exercising his Constitutional authority, as presidents from both parties have done many times in the past.

“Even with the passage of the appropriations bill, Congress still has unfinished business in areas of great concern for USDA and the customers we serve. Farmers and ranchers were battered last year by a series of monumental storms, robbing them of their livelihoods and inflicting damage well beyond the financial risks they normally assume in their operations. These are the men and women who dedicate their lives to feeding, fueling, and clothing this nation, and we cannot turn our backs on them when they need assistance. Just as importantly, another devastating wildfire season left our Forest Service badly in need of replenished funds to fight fires, remove excess fuels, and conduct necessary forest management. Without these resources, we risk falling behind in forest maintenance and inviting even more severe seasons in the future. I will continue to work with the President and the Congress to address these critical issues.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey announced that USDA is hosting a listening session for initial input on the 2018 Farm Bill. USDA is seeking public input on the changes to existing programs implemented by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency. Each agency will take into account stakeholder input when making discretionary decisions on program implementation.

“The 2018 Farm Bill is intended to provide support, certainty and stability to our Nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs, and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation,” said Under Secretary Northey. “We are seeking input from stakeholders on how USDA can streamline and improve program delivery while also enhancing customer service.”

The listening session will be held Feb. 26, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the Jefferson Auditorium in the South Building located at 14th Street and Independence Ave. S.W. in Washington, D.C.

The listening session is open to the public. Participants must register at farmers.gov/farmbill by February 22, 2019, to attend the listening session and are encouraged to provide written comments prior to the listening session. For those orally presenting comments at the listening session, written comments are encouraged to be submitted to regulations.gov by February 22, 2019.  Additional written comments will be accepted through March 1, 2019. Comments received will be publicly available on www.regulations.gov.

“Truly this is a Farm Bill that improves farm safety net programs, protects federal crop insurance, and preserves strong rural development and research initiatives. At USDA we are eager to hear from our stakeholders on policy recommendations, so we can start working on implementing these important Farm Bill provisions,” said Northey

For more information on the listening session visit  farmers.gov/farmbill.

On Feb. 14, 2019 at 12 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release the complete set of tables prepared for the upcoming USDA Agricultural Projections to 2028 report. The new tables will include projections for farm income, U.S. fruits, nuts, and vegetables supply and use, and global commodity trade. Tables containing long-term supply, use, and price projections to 2028 for major U.S. crops and livestock products as well as supporting U.S. and international macroeconomic assumptions were released on Nov. 2, 2018. Short-term projections from the Oct. 11, 2018 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report are used as a starting point.

“The baseline tables provide important data to many stakeholders. We had to delay their release due to the lapse in federal funding, but I am pleased to announce they will be available to the public in few days,” said USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson.

The tables will be in MS Excel format and posted to the USDA Office of the Chief Economist’s (OCE) website.

The complete USDA Agricultural Projections to 2028 report will be released on March 13, 2019 and will include a full discussion of the projections for U.S. commodity supply and use, farm income, and global commodity trade.

USDA’s long-term agricultural projections represent a departmental consensus on a ten-year representative scenario for the agricultural sector. The projections do not represent USDA forecasts, but rather reflect a conditional long-run scenario based on specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments, with no domestic or external shocks to global agricultural markets. The Agricultural Act of 2014 is assumed to remain in effect through the projection period.

Background on USDA’s long-term projections and past issues of the report are available at the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) website.

Anne Hazlett is moving to the White House from the Department of Agriculture. Last Week, USDA announced that Hazlett will assume the role of  Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Hazlett has served as the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at USDA since June 2017. In her new role, Hazlett will help shape policy aimed at improving the quality of life in rural America, coordinate interagency efforts on drug control activity impacting rural communities, and build coalitions and grassroots strategies centered on prevention, treatment and recovery. Hazlett previously led USDA’s efforts to build infrastructure for prevention, treatment and recovery in rural communities.

Jim Carroll, who leads the White House Office, says Hazlett has “a critical understanding of the unique challenges facing these communities and is committed to helping them reverse the effects of the opioid epidemic.”

OMAHA (DTN) — USDA on Friday pegged 2018 corn production at 14.4 billion bushels with a national average yield of 176.4 bushels per acre, down 2.5 bpa from USDA’s November estimate. It’s 0.2 bpa below last year and within the range of pre-report expectations.

Farmers harvested a record 4.54 bb of soybeans, up 3% from 2017. At 51.6 bpa, the national average yield estimate was half a bushel lower than USDA’s last estimate, but 2.3 bpa above last year and only 0.3 bpa below the all-time record.

As of Dec. 1, 2018, USDA said corn stocks totaled 12 billion bushels, down 5% from last year. It was slightly below the average pre-report estimate of 12.1 billion bushels.

Soybean stocks, at 3.74 billion bushels, were up 18% from last year. The estimate was within the range of pre-report estimates.

In South America, USDA estimates Brazilian farmers will harvest 117 million metric tons of soybeans, 5 mmt below USDA’s previous 122 mmt estimate.

It anticipates Argentina farmers will collect 55 mmt of soybeans, 0.5 mmt lower than its previous estimate.

USDA expects China to import 88 mmt of soybeans in the 2018-19 marketing year, down from its December estimate of 90 mmt.

Friday’s new U.S. ending stocks estimates were neutral for corn, soybeans and wheat, said DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman. Friday’s world ending stocks estimates were neutral for corn and wheat, but bullish for soybeans. The Grain Stocks report was bullish for corn and neutral for soybeans and wheat, he said.

Among the reports released on their regular schedule Friday were the February Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports. Three of the other reports released Friday — the Crop Production Annual Summary, Grain Stocks and Winter Wheat Seedings — were delayed due to the partial government shutdown. USDA skipped its January World Agricultural Supply and Demand report entirely, so figures throughout this article will compare back to December estimates.

Because DTN and other news outlets no longer have pre-release access to the reports, instead of one story, we are now sending a series of updates with each including more information as our analysts and reporters digest and analyze the new numbers.

You can also access the full reports here:

— Crop Production Annual Summary, Grain Stocks, and Winter Wheat Seedings: https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

— World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE): http://www.usda.gov/…

CROP PRODUCTION ANNUAL SUMMARY

USDA pegged 2018 corn production at 14.4 billion bushels with a national average yield of 176.4 bushels per acre, a decrease of 2 mb and 2.5 bpa from USDA’s November estimate respectively. Farmers harvested 81.7million acres, down 1% from 2017.

Farmers harvested 4.54 bb of soybeans, down million bushels from its previous estimate. At 51.6 bpa, the national average yield estimate was 0.5 bpa below prior estimates. Harvested area was down 2% from last year at 88.1 million acres.

Sorghum production is estimated at 365 million bushels, up 1% from the previous year, with a national average yield of 72.1 bpa, up 0.4 bpa from 2017. Farmers harvested 5.69 million acres.

USDA estimated cotton production at 18.4 million bales, down 12% from 2017. The national average yield was 838 pounds per acre, down 67 lbs. from last year. Farmers harvested 10.5 million acres, down 5% from last year.

GRAIN STOCKS

Corn stocks totaled 11.95 billion bushels as of Dec. 1, 2018, with 7.45 bb stored on-farm and 4.5 bb stored in off-farm locations. Last year, farmers held 7.74 bb in on-farm and 4.78 billion in off-farm storage. September-to-November usage totaled 4.61 billion bushels, compared to 4.38 billion bushels during the same period last year.

USDA said 3.74 billion bushels of soybeans were in storage as of Dec. 1, with 1.94 bb stored on-farm and 1.8 bb stored off the farm. Last year, farmers held 1.49 bb on-farm and 1.67 bb off-farm. September-to-November usage totaled 1.25 billion bushels, down 20% from the same period last year.

All wheat stocks totaled 2 billion bushels, up 7% from the previous year, with 504 mb stored on-farm and 1.5 bb stored off-farm. Last year, farmers held 393 mb on-farm and 1.48 bb off-farm. September-to-November usage was 390 million bushels, 1% below the same period last year.

WINTER WHEAT SEEDINGS

Farmers planted 31.3 million acres to winter wheat this fall, compared to 32.5 ma last year and the average pre-report estimate of 32.1 ma. The winter wheat total is the lowest acreage figure since 1909.

USDA said area seeded to hard red winter wheat is expected to total 22.2 ma, down 3% from 2017.

Soft red winter wheat area, at 5.66 ma, is down 7% from last year.

Farmers planted 3.44 million acres to white winter wheat, a 3% decrease.

In Kansas and Oklahoma, USDA said farmers planted 65,000 acres to canola, 44% below last year.

U.S. CROP PRODUCTION (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Feb Avg High Low Dec 2017-18
Corn 14,420 14,509 14,602 14,363 14,626 14,604
Soybeans 4,544 4,558 4,592 4,490 4,600 4,411
All Wheat 1,884 1,884 1,740
QUARTERLY STOCKS (million bushels) as of 12/1/18
Dec 18 Avg High Low Sep 18 Dec 17
Corn 11,952 12,117 12,699 11,940 2,140 12,567
Soybeans 3,736 3,687 3,850 3,161 438 3,161
Wheat 1,999 1,952 2,005 1,873 2,379 1,873
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Feb Avg High Low Dec 2017-18
Corn 1,735 1,714 1,858 1,550 1,781 2,140
Soybeans 910 920 996 800 955 438
Wheat 1,010 993 1,031 950 974 1,099
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (Million metric tons) 2018-2019
Feb Avg High Low Dec
Corn 309.8 307.5 311.6 305.0 308.8
Soybeans 106.7 113.9 122.6 109.0 115.3
Wheat 267.5 268.0 269.7 266.0 268.1
WORLD PRODUCTION (million metric tons)
2018-19 Avg High Low Jan 2017-18
WHEAT Feb
Argentina 19.2
Australia 17.0
CORN
Argentina 46.0 43.1 45.0 41.0 32.0
Brazil 94.5 93.3 95.5 91.5 82.0
SOYBEANS
Argentina 55.0 55.0 56.0 52.0 37.8
Brazil 117.0 116.3 119.0 112.2 120.3
WINTER WHEAT SEEDINGS (million acres) 2019-20
Feb Avg. High Low 2018-19
All Winter 31.3 32.0 33.2 31.5 32.5
Hard Red 22.2 22.5 23.6 21.9 22.9
Soft Red 5.7 5.9 6.2 5.6 6.1
White 3.4 3.5 4.0 3.2 3.5

As the Agriculture Department moves forward with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations, the department must ensure its new Interim Rule balances the benefits for both farmland and wetland, as Congress intended, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. As it was written, the Interim Rule makes program participation much more difficult and fails to give farmers the opportunity they should have to participate in the process.

“Because conservation compliance programs operate fundamentally as regulatory programs they should operate with all the duties and rights that such a regulatory program entails. Equally important, all guidance, policy and interim rules must match up with the statute,” Farm Bureau wrote in comments submitted to USDA on Tuesday.

For too long USDA had been making regulatory determinations based primarily on guidance and policy that was not put through the required public process—an error that Farm Bureau said permeates the wetland identification and appeals processes. “USDA holds all the cards, leaving farmers without the necessary tools to protect their property and due process rights,” the group wrote.

In keeping with the statute, USDA must recognize that prior-converted cropland is not only not farmed wetland, it is no longer wetland and should never be treated as wetland under the Food Security Act or any rule implementing the Food Security Act.

Also at odds with the law is the department’s newly added discretion in determining that a decades-old map is of insufficient quality to uphold a certified determination.

“Determinations certified prior to USDA’s adoption of new mapping conventions should be exempt from invalidation due to changes that only new imaging technology can detect. To that end, USDA’s regulations should expressly recognize that pre-1990 certifications are valid unless the producer raises the issue that they were never provided with appeal rights after passage of the 1990 farm bill (and thus, were not able to appeal the determination to become certified),” Farm Bureau said.

In the Interim Rule USDA has added several terms and definitions that expand the farmland wetland category by making it easier for USDA to designate land as a farmed wetland. This substantively changes what land qualifies as prior-converted cropland or commenced-conversion wetlands under the statutory exemptions, which is harmful to farmers who have relied on prior interpretations.

The group also took issue with USDA’s failure to implement the minimal effect exemption provisions as lawmakers directed. “Congress exempted farmers from ineligibility if the impacts of the wetland conversion were minimal to the wetlands in the area,” the group noted.

The statute also provides that “the Secretary shall exempt a person and does not require that a landowner first request such a determination; rather, such determination must automatically accompany any determination regarding eligibility.” Lastly, the statute requires the Secretary to “identify by regulation categorical minimal effect exemptions on a regional basis.” Unfortunately, USDA has violated the statute by failing to implement this provision to the detriment of farmers and ranchers nationwide.

WASHINGTON– U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in cooperation with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), is accepting nominations for new members to serve on its agricultural trade advisory committees. Nominations received by Friday, March 1, 2019, will be considered for the next round of appointments.

“USDA and USTR rely on the agricultural trade advisory committees to provide significant insight into trade issues for the United States. Hearing the diverse views of our agricultural experts helps us formulate trade strategy and keep American exports growing,” said Secretary Perdue. “Committee members serve an invaluable role to help enact trade agreements and trade policies that benefit America’s farmers, ranchers and rural America.”

“With around 20 percent of farm income derived from exports, it is critical that we get advice from the American food and agriculture community to ensure we are negotiating the best deals possible,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “Our farmers, ranchers, and food manufacturers and workers can compete against anyone in overseas markets, and input from our stakeholders can help guide President Trump’s trade strategy in opening these markets.”

Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) advise USDA and USTR on operating existing U.S. trade agreements, on negotiating new agreements, and on other trade policy matters. Members of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs) represent specific commodity sectors and provide technical advice and guidance on trade issues that affect both domestic and foreign production. The six ATACs focus on trade in:

  • Animals and animal products;
  • Fruits and vegetables;
  • Grains, feed, oilseeds and planting seeds;
  • Processed foods;
  • Sweeteners and sweetener products; and
  • Tobacco, cotton and peanuts.

Committee members represent a cross section of U.S. food and agricultural stakeholders and must have knowledge of agriculture and trade matters. Committee members, who serve four-year terms, must be U.S. citizens, qualify for a security clearance, and serve without compensation for time, travel or expenses. The committees generally meet in Washington, D.C., at least twice a year.

Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. ET on March 1, 2019. Nominations received after that date will be considered for future appointments as appropriate to maintain staggered terms. All nomination materials should be mailed in a single, complete package to: Sonny Perdue, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-1001, Attn: APAC/ATACs. Courtesy electronic copies of the nomination materials should be sent toATACs@fas.usda.gov.

For additional information, including application instructions and forms, please visitwww.fas.usda.gov/ATACs or e-mail ATACs@fas.usda.gov.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that his department awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program.

The Hagstrom Report says the goal is to help U.S. farmers and ranchers find and get into new export markets around the globe. The promotion funds are part of the package that also included the Market Facilitation Program payments to farmers hurt be retaliatory tariffs, as well as a food distribution program to assist producers of targeted commodities. In making the announcement, Perdue made a thinly-veiled reference to China by saying, “This infusion will help us develop other markets and move us away from being dependent on one large customer for our agricultural products. This is seed money, leveraged by hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector that will help to increase our agricultural exports.” Every sector of U.S. agriculture was allowed to apply for cost-share assistance under the program.

The Foreign Agricultural Service looked at all the applications in terms of the potential for export growth in the target market, direct injury from the imposed retaliatory tariffs, and the likelihood that the proposed project will have a direct impact on agricultural exports. The Trade Promotion Program provides assistance to eligible groups for things like consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, trade fair participation, and market research.

Politico says the month-plus government shutdown has left U.S. Department of Agriculture officials with quite the backlog of commodity reports. They also have a lot of other numbers waiting to be crunched for future reports.

Those numbers include the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which is a major survey taken every five years and includes every state and county. It shapes a lot of future national policy and rural programs. The National Ag Statistics Service announced this week that the survey results won’t be released on February 21st as originally scheduled. However, the agency didn’t announce a new release date. The first of many delayed reports came out on Thursday, which covered agricultural prices. Reports covering peanut stocks and poultry slaughter will come out on Friday.

The Foreign Agricultural Service also laid out a new release schedule for its backlog of weekly export sales announcements. The FAS reports got a lot of attention in December as China began to once again make large purchases of U.S. soybeans after Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping reached a temporary truce at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.