As talks continue on the 2018 Farm Bill, the current state of the U.S. farm economy has prompted farm organizations to encourage the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to write the legislation in a way that helps farmers better respond to shifting market conditions. These tactics range in their scope and approach, but all involve the same concept: increased spending.
A mentor in graduate school would refer to every obstacle or challenge faced as an opportunity. Using his philosophy, the biodiesel industry has had its fair share of “opportunities” in 2017.
As a quick primer, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was signed into law a decade ago. It has been a significant market driver for expansion of the U.S. biodiesel industry. Under the statute, a minimum number of gallons of biodiesel to be blended into our nation’s energy supply will be determined on an annual basis. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is required to examine market factors outlined in the statute when making this decision and is expected to consult with the Secretaries of Agriculture and Energy.
Most farmers mark the passing years with references to crop years. “1977 was the year we were hailed out. 1988, now that drought had to rival those our elders suffered through during the Dirty Thirties. 1999, who knew prices could go so low! 2010, a bumper crop and great prices!”
The 2017 canola harvest in the Willamette Valley will be remembered as cold and wet – not ideal canola-growing conditions. But for regional canola growers, such conditions represent an important opportunity to grow a beneficial rotation crop.
The Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) has been hard at work over the past few years to expand research and initiatives supporting canola in the Northern Plains. It allocates a significant portion of its funds to public research in canola in areas of highest importance to growers.
Omega-3 fatty acids are in high demand. Research has shown that some of their nutritional benefits include decreasing triglycerides and the risk of abnormal heartbeats, even slightly lowering blood pressure levels. But the heightened demand continues to pressure wild fish populations that are harvested to produce fish meal and fish oil for aquafeed – these are the primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids used to grow healthy (and tasty) salmon. That’s where Cargill, BASF Plant Science and Montana agriculture come in.
URGENT: The deadline to sign up for U.S. Census of Agriculture is this Friday, June 30! Taken only once every five years, this survey looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures.
The Census of Agriculture provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. Through the Census of Agriculture, producers can show the nation the value and importance of agriculture, and they can help influence the decisions that will shape the future of American agriculture for years to come. By responding to the Census of Agriculture, producers are helping themselves, their communities, and all of U.S. agriculture.
Make sure your farm counts: sign up here today!
Rural America may be having second thoughts about predominantly casting a vote for President Trump as he continued to slash agricultural funding in May. His FY 2018 budget, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” proposes $3.6 trillion in cuts over 10 years, including $228 billion in reductions to farm bill programs. This is in addition to the 21 percent cut to annual discretionary expenditures advanced in the President’s “skinny budget” released in March.
Rural America helped swing the election in Donald Trump’s favor. But at first glance, he doesn’t appear to be returning the favor with his proposed budget.
The President released the long-awaited budget last week, and agriculture spending took one of the biggest hits. Trump proposed slashing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) discretionary spending to $17.9 billion, which is a whopping 21 percent cut – the third largest of any federal agency.
The increase in canola oil use is well documented, but U.S. production has not kept pace with consumption. Luckily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and canola industry are engaged in supporting research to improve canola productivity and profitability in ways that will lead to expanded production around the country. At a 2017 U.S. Canola Association meeting, NIFA facilitated a half-day workshop showing off USDA and other agency research advancing canola production. The NIFA Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program has helped canola researchers address needs in all regions across the nation. Work includes testing germplasm and breeding superior performing varieties; developing new commercial products from canola; and innovating new production, harvest and processing methods for production systems that include canola. There is a focus on getting results to commercial users as soon as possible, so NIFA’s involvement with stakeholders in setting priorities, project development and product delivery is required.