Despite an expected increase in net cash farm income this year, median total farm household income is projected to drop to $80,314 for 2020 and $79,909 in 2021, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Economic Research Service Economist Carrie Litkowski says the decrease is due to several factors.

“Farm profits are often shared with other stakeholders, like landowners or contracts, and the well-being of farm operator households is determined by a combination of on-farm and off-farm activity,” she said in a webinar.

Nationwide, net cash farm income for 2021 is expected to rise to $134.7 billion compared to 2020’s $110.9 billion, but production costs are also expected to rise.

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Coalition pushes USDA to update food safety standards for poultry

A diverse coalition of consumer groups, illness survivors and major poultry processors want USDA to update its poultry food safety standards, citing “persistently high” illness rates from Salmonella and Campylobacter over the last 20 years.

“A modernized Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Framework should address risk reduction across the full production process,” their Sept. 2 letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack reads. “Science tells us that current performance standards do not effectively target the particular types of Salmonella and the levels of bacteria that pose the greatest risks of illness.”

Butterball, Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Consumer Federation of America are among the groups making the request to Vilsack.

Mexico importing a lot more US cotton

Mexico’s textile industry is quickly recovering from last year’s pandemic-induced downturn and is buying a lot of cotton from the U.S., according to a new report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The FAS office in Mexico City is now predicting that Mexico will import 1.1 million 480-pound bales of cotton in the 2021-22 marketing year, up from 1 million bales in 2020-21 and 570,000 bales in 2019-20. The new forecast for 2021-22 would be the highest level of trade in more than a decade. 

Global demand for clothing is also on the rise, says FAS, and that’s spurring Mexican producers to import more cotton.

“Additionally, high global freight costs have disincentivized the importation of garments from Asia and further boosted (Mexican) textile production,” the report said. 

US new crop soy sales to China continue strong in late August
Chinese commitments to buy U.S. soybeans for delivery in the 2021-22 marketing year continued at a rapid pace in late August according to the latest USDA weekly trade data.
China purchased 1.264 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans from Aug. 20-26, equaling more than half of the total new crop commitments for the week, which totaled 2.132 million tons.
USDA also announced yet another daily grain sale of 126,000 tons of U.S. soybeans to China – also for the 2021-22 marketing year – on Thursday.
Democrats push for inclusion of bipartisan biofuel proposals in budget resolution

As Congress considers the budget resolution, nine Democratic lawmakers from key biofuel production states are asking House and Senate leadership to include funding for biofuels infrastructure.

“Providing additional market access for higher blends of low carbon fuels in the budget reconciliation process will create jobs in rural communities, lower the price of fuel for consumers at the pump, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and, most importantly, decrease carbon emissions,” the letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reads.

The lawmakers, including Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith of Minnesota and Dick Durbin of Illinois, argue biofuels can help cut carbon emissions immediately and help reach Paris Climate Accord goals of a 50% drop in emissions by 2030.

They ask Schumer and Pelosi to consider five bills introduced in the House and Senate, including legislation to allow year-round sales of E15.

RMA approves insurance offering for farmers who split-apply nitrogen to corn

USDA's Risk Management Agency is expanding its insurance offerings by adding an option for farmers who “split-apply” nitrogen to their corn, making multiple applications during the growing season in hopes of lowering input costs and preventing runoff into waterways and groundwater. 

The Post Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE) will be available in crop year 2022 to farmers in certain states with non-irrigated corn who are unable to apply nitrogen in season.

PACE was developed by the Illinois Corn Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, Ag-Analytics Technology Company, Meridian Institute, and others and submitted to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, whose board recently approved it.

USDA said the sales closing date for the endorsement will be the same as the producer’s underlying corn policy and that RMA will share additional details on the offering later this year.

Last day to submit comments to EPA, Corps on WOTUS rewrite
Unless the comment deadline is extended, today is the deadline to provide recommendations on the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ development of a proposed new definition of “waters of the U.S.”
The agencies have held a series of virtual public meetings to gather input thus far, where agricultural and environmental groups have been well represented. The former generally want the agencies to stick with the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which has just been vacated, while environmentalists want something more closely resembling the Obama administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule.
In response to several calls to extend the comment period, an EPA spokesperson said the agencies are reviewing the requests.
She said it: “Once it is available, this new insurance product will be a valuable tool for corn farmers across the Midwest as they adapt to changing conditions and on-farm data that shows the benefits of split-nitrogen application.” — Deborah Atwood, Meridian Institute Senior Fellow and Executive Director of AGree, commenting on RMA’s new insurance offering.

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