Amid growing concerns about the impact of the war in Ukraine, the G7 ag ministers have joined the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in urging countries not to protect their own food supplies by restricting exports. 
In a joint statement Friday, the G7 ministers argued that export restrictions could make the situation worst. “We call on all countries to keep their food and agricultural markets open and to guard against any unjustified restrictive measures on their exports,” the G7 ag ministers said in a prepared statement after a virtual meeting with Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Roman Leshchenko.
“Any further increase in food price levels and volatility in international markets could threaten food security and nutrition at a global scale, especially among the most vulnerable living in environments of low food security.”
FAO made a similar statement in a report that estimates the impact the war is going to have on global food and fertilizer supplies. “Reductions in import tariffs or the use of export restrictions could help to resolve individual country food security challenges in the short term, but they would drive up prices on global markets,” FAO says. 
Keep in mind: FAO estimates 20% to 30% of Ukraine’s winter wheat, corn and sunflower crops may not be planted or go unharvested this year, and yields of remaining crops may be reduced. The report also estimates global grain prices could rise as much as 20% and that as many as 13 million more people around the world could be undernourished as a result of the war’s impact on food supplies. About 811 million were considered food insecure in 2020.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, one of the leaders in the meeting, told reporters Leshchenko said Ukrainian farmers are desperate for fuel to harvest their wheat and plant their corn.
The Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Summit is focused on “Laying the Groundwork for the Next Farm Bill” and we will convene a number of political appointees, members of Congress, food and agricultural leaders, along with industry experts and academics for a full day of discussion. To see the agenda and register, click here.
Pork checkoff going down in 2023 to 35 cents per $100 value
The pork checkoff rate is dropping a nickel, from 40 cents per $100 value to 35 cents.
Delegates at the Pork Forum overwhelmingly approved the reduction, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
 “The resolution – offered initially by Minnesota, Indiana and Ohio, but joined in support by Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Montana and South Dakota – passed the delegate body with 94% of shares voting in favor,” the National Pork Board said
Delegates approved other recommendations that had also been made by the Pork Industry Vision Task Force, including creation of a “joint producer-led working group of state leaders … that conducts annual industry planning, prioritizes issues, identifies risks and develops action plans.”
NCBA welcomes cattle contract library
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is pleased that provisions it has long supported are in the omnibus funding bill that is awaiting President Biden’s signature.
Among them: An Electronic Logging Device exemption for livestock haulers and an extension of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting program. 
LMR was extended until Sept. 30, not for five years as NCBA wanted, but the group said the best thing to come out of the omnibus was the one-time appropriation to USDA to set up a new cattle contract library.
Tanner Beymer, NCBA’s director of government affairs and market regulatory policy, said the information about incentives and pricing are “helpful for our members as they try to make decisions on their own operation.”
India scrambles to make up for lost imports of sunflower oil from Ukraine
India and other South Asian nations import a lot of sunflower oil from Ukraine, but the Russian invasion has halted that trade, leaving buyers scrambling for replacements, according to a new report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
The FAS outpost in New Delhi says 380,000 metric tons of sunflower oil shipments destined for India from the Black Sea region “are waylaid at ports. New purchases are being suspended for the foreseeable future due to the war.”
Ukraine exported $1.9 billion worth of sunflower oil to India in 2021, and there is the potential for India to replace some of those imports this year with soybean oil from the U.S., FAS says.
NCGA, Grains Council to visit Morocco 
Leaders of the National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Grains Council will head to Morocco in June, Council Chairman Chad Willis said on Saturday at the Commodity Classic in New Orleans.
Both Willis and NCGA Chairman John Linder said Morocco was chosen as the location for a joint officers trip before an NCGA effort to highlight concerns in the fertilizer industry. In December, NCGA sent a letter to fertilizer company Mosaic stating the company had “almost single-handedly erected an insurmountable tariff barrier to keep its top competitors in Morocco and Russia out of the U.S. phosphate market” and asked the business to “voluntarily withdraw your countervailing duties and allow critical supply back into the U.S.”
Linder told reporters he was “not sure that we can influence change from the soil in Morocco” but rather referred to the country as a “marketplace influencer.”
 “We look for those places that have stable governments and an appetite for products as well as commerce that will support trade,” he said.
Keep in mind: The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled last year to allow tariffs to be placed on phosphate fertilizer imports from Morocco and Russia. The Moroccan fertilizer producer OCP is appealing that ruling.
The U.S. imported about $730 million worth of phosphate fertilizer from Morocco in 2019, according to the Department of Commerce.
He said it: “The idea behind this is that it will allow cattle producers to see the types of contracts that are offered from packers to producers for the purchase of fed cattle” — Tanner Beymer, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association director of government affairs and market regulatory policy, discussing the cattle contract library.
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