Tag Archives: USDA

Friday at 2PM CT the USDA will release the September cattle on feed report. Given the dry conditions that have plagued much of the Midwest since early August, placements in the September report are expected to be high. That would be the result of yearling cattle coming off of pasture early. Along with calves being weaned early.

In general analyst also expect the total number of cattle on feed to be higher in September 2020 than September 2019. While cattle marketed will be below year ago levels. That could be due partially to fewer work days than the previous year. For the most part weekly cattle slaughter rates have started to equal year ago levels.

Watch for more on this website Friday afternoon when the data is released.

September Cattle on Feed Report Estimates

September Cattle on Feed September 2020 Est. Range of Estimates
On Feed 103.50% 102.2-103.9%
Placed 106.00% 100.8-110%
Marketed 96.70% 95.7-97.5%

 

The Department of Agriculture seeks public comments on recommended improvements to the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Program by November 5, 2020.

USDA’s Risk Management Agency contracted for an independent evaluation of the program to determine its effectiveness as a risk management tool for livestock producers. RMA Administrator Martin Barbre says, “We want to be sure that the recommendations RMA implements are good for the industry and good for livestock producers.”

In addition to the PRF program, the recommendations could be applied to other Rainfall Index programs such as beekeeping and Annual Forage. RMA will review all comments and determine what recommendations should be implemented for the 2022 crop year.

The independent evaluation includes several recommendations, including adjusting the County Base Value productivity range, better targeting of indemnities, and focusing on viable forage production areas. Other recommendations include focusing on coverage on risk-reducing intervals and taking an alternative approach to reducing frequent shallow losses.

After serving as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture since 2017, the man who led the American Soybean Association for 21 years is returning to familiar territory.

Stephen Censky is leaving USDA to return to the helm of the grower group as Chief Executive Officer. Censky will officially join ASA on November 9 and resumes his post after the departure of Ryan Findlay, who’s credited with helping the organization restructure internally and establish an independent government affairs office in Washington, D.C.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “There is no doubt that I personally, as well as the whole USDA family, will miss Steve’s experience, preparedness, and steady leadership. During his tenure, we accomplished a great deal in a short time, even in the face of serious challenges in American agriculture.” He adds that Censky’s roots are in agriculture and he’s one of the best and most professional public servants America has. Censky says, “It’s a privilege to return to ASA and represent our nation’s soybean growers.

ASA is in many ways home, and I’m excited about working with both new and familiar faces in St. Louis and D.C. and building on the great changes made since I was last there.”

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says it is modernizing egg product inspections.

This is the first effort to update the inspection methods since Congress passed the egg Products inspection Act in 1970. FSIS says the Egg Products Inspection Regulations final rule aligns the egg products regulations to be consistent with current requirements in the meat and poultry products inspection regulations. Under the new rule, federally inspected egg product plants are required to develop and implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points systems and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures.

FSIS will continue to test for Salmonella and Listeria in egg products. FSIS requires that plants produce egg products that meet food safety standards and are edible without additional preparation. Under the system, plants will be able to tailor a food safety system that best fits their facility and equipment.

In addition, FSIS will be assuming regulatory authority over egg substitutes and freeze-dried egg products, which pose the same risk as egg products and will be inspected in the same manner.

As recently as September 1, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA was finishing up writing the rules for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Late last week at a stop in Iowa, the secretary said the rules have been written and they’ll be announced this week.

The Bismarck Tribune says the first $16 billion in funding during the first round of the program was geared to the first quarter of 2020. The idea was to just get the aid out the door as quickly as possible to whoever needed it. Round two of the program will factor in more producer feedback to make it a program that works best for the people who truly need it. Farm Journal’s Ag Web Dot Com says payments in the second round will compensate producers for any losses they had from April 15 through the end of 2020.

The deadline for applying during the first round of CFAP is this Friday, September 11. He says round two payments will go to the same commodities they did in the first round. There won’t be any money for ethanol producers and other agricultural commodities seeking aid because of COVID-19. Perdue says he doesn’t have the necessary authority from Congress to make those particular payments.

A major Australian barley exporter barred from China in the latest trade dispute to hit bilateral relations says the Chinese are only now acting on grain shipments dating back to 2019. China on Tuesday suspended barley imports from CBH Grain Pty. Ltd., Australia’s largest grain-exporting company, saying the grain was contaminated. But the delay in China’s response to a sanitary issue adds weight to suspicions that CBH is suffering collateral damage from political tensions, including a dispute over Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. CBH executive Jason Craig says the Chinese ban is over weed seeds in barley shipments to China dating back to December last year.

According to USDA data US Barley exports are up nearly 25% on the year. Last week USDA inspected 1,270 MT of US barley for export around the world.

Lincoln, Nebraska – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue joined Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts today to sign a Shared Stewardship Agreement between USDA’s Forest Service and the State of Nebraska. The Shared Stewardship Agreement establishes a framework for federal and state agencies to promote active forest management, improve collaboration, and respond to ecological challenges and natural resource concerns in Nebraska.

“This agreement strengthens the already strong partnership between the Forest Service and the State of Nebraska,” said Secretary Perdue. “Through Shared Stewardship, Nebraska and the Forest Service will work together to identify landscape-scale priorities and build capacity to improve forest conditions.”

“The Trump Administration has empowered states by shifting decision-making from Washington, D.C. back to statehouses across America,” said Governor Ricketts. “Thanks to Secretary Perdue and the USDA for putting Nebraska’s priorities first in conservation and for partnering with us to wisely steward our forests.”

Under the agreement, the State of Nebraska and USDA will work together on forest and grassland restoration across all land ownerships, with a focus on protecting at-risk communities and watersheds from wildfire. The agreement identifies shared principles and priorities to include joint planning, pooling resources and continued investment in existing partnerships and programs that support collaborative work.

The agreement can be found at: Agreement for Shared Stewardship between Nebraska Forest Service and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region (PDF, 322 KB).

The national USDA Forest Service shared stewardship strategy can be found at: www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/toward-shared-stewardship.pdf (PDF, 14 MB).

 

House Democrats claim Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue violated the Hatch Act during a visit to a Farmers to Families Food Box Distributor. Led by Democrat Marcia Fudge of Ohio, a group of lawmakers made the claim in a letter to the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Ethics.

Specifically, the letter cites a potential Hatch Act violation by Perdue after he made political statements promoting the President’s re-election at the official government event on August 24. The letter follows the Republican National Convention, in which the lawmakers claim, “included several possible violations of the Hatch Act over the course of four days.”

While referring to attendees of the event, Perdue states, “they and many others are going to vote for you for four more years in 2020.” Noting the Hatch Act prohibits executive branch employees from using their official position to influence the result of an election, the lawmakers requested information on Departmental travel to ensure USDA is complying with the Hatch Act.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, applauded a school nutrition waiver announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which he requested earlier this month.

On August 17, Roberts led a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the Department to continue providing flexibilities to schools and sponsoring organizations for school meals and child nutrition. Click here to read the letter.

“I appreciate Secretary Perdue exercising the Department’s emergency authority to assist school food authorities and non-school sponsoring organizations to provide children with meals while schools begin various models of in-person and virtual classroom sessions under the COVID-19 emergency conditions,” said Roberts. “I applaud USDA’s work with state agencies, schools, and non-school sponsoring organizations to collaboratively provide meals through the Department’s child nutrition programs when schools were unexpectedly closed in the spring, through the summer, and now again as schools wrestle with these challenges as the school year begins.”

Today, USDA announced an extension of waivers to allow the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Options to continue to run through December 31, 2020, if funding permits. This includes:

  • Allowing the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Options meals to be served in all areas and at no cost;
  • Permitting meals to be served outside of the typically-required group settings and meal times;
  • Waiving meal pattern requirements as necessary; and
  • Allowing parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children.

The waiver extensions fall under the authorities Congress provided to USDA in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This program, created under the 2014 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, provides funding for the purchase of conservation easements to help productive farm and ranch lands remain in agriculture and to restore and protect critical wetlands and grasslands.

Nebraska State Conservationist, Craig Derickson said, “Conservation easements are a great tool to ensure natural resources are conserved and protected for all Nebraskans. We encourage Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.”

The main goal of ACEP is to prevent productive agriculture land from being converted to non-agricultural uses and to restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.

Applications can be submitted at any time, but to be considered for fiscal year 2021 funding opportunities, applications in Nebraska must be received by October 1, 2020. Applications are currently being accepted for both agricultural land and wetland reserve easements.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of conservation easements. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

All wetland reserve easement applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. Eligible applicants will be compensated with a payment rate comparable to the local land use value.

NRCS also provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing agricultural land easements that protect ag land use and conservation values of eligible land. For working farms, the program helps farmers keep their land in agriculture. Agricultural land easements also protect high quality grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development, and other non-grazing uses.

Applicants will need to provide accurate records of ownership and ensure they have established fiscal year 2021 ownership eligibility with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). Application information is available at your local USDA Service Center and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.

“NRCS staff will work with all interested applicants to help them through the application process and provide one-on-one assistance to create the conservation easement option that works best for their farming or ranching operation,” Derickson said.

For more information about the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the programs and services it provides, visit your local USDA Service Center or www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.