Tag Archives: USDA

The Department of Agriculture has paid more than $7 billion in assistance to farmers as part of round two of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Known as CFAP 2, the program provides farmers with financial aid to help absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “the funding builds upon the over $10 billion disbursed under the first round.” Since CFAP 2 enrollment began in September, the Farm Service Agency has approved more than 443,000 applications.

The top five states for payments are Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Kansas. Through CFAP 2, USDA is making available up to $14 billion for farmers and ranchers. CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first round of funding.

Farmers and ranchers who participated in the original program are not automatically enrolled and must complete a new application for the second round of funding. FSA will accept applications through December 11, 2020.

LINCOLN – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded $822,737 in grants to fund 16 projects designed to strengthen the specialty crop industry in Nebraska. The USDA provides grant monies through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to fund research and ag education activities to increase demand for specialty crops. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) monitors and administers Nebraska’s specialty crop program.

“Nebraska is home to a diverse range of agricultural products due in part to the state’s varying terrain, elevation, soil and climate,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “In addition to variety, specialty crops add value to Nebraska’s agricultural industry which helps to grow the state’s economy.”

SCBGP supports farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops. Grant recipients include agricultural departments and agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. A list of eligible specialty crops is available on USDA’s website at ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/specialty-crop.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) received 12 of the 16 grants that the USDA awarded to Nebraska this year. Those grant-funded projects include:

  • hosting an annual Nebraska Specialty Crop Conference and Trade Show from 2021 – 2023 to teach growers about farm practices, marketing methods, and research projects that will grow and enhance the specialty crop industry;
  • examining the practicality of growing Vinifera grapes in high tunnels for the Midwest;
  • researching novel weed management solutions for matted-row strawberry production;
  • increasing dry edible bean usage by developing a high value-added yogurt product;
  • optimizing nitrogen fertility management of mint production in western Nebraska;
  • collaborating with local growers and area beekeepers to do on-farm testing of a trap crop tactic to manage pest and beneficial insects in sunflower fields;
  • conducting a study that will test new, relatively inexpensive commercially available chemicals for their ability to reduce damage and improve yields in chickpeas due to the fungal disease Ascochyta blight;
  • evaluating novel herbicides and herbicide timings in dry edible beans for control of herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth;
  • developing a quick, reliable and reproducible analytical methods of evaluating the protein quality of the pulse crop, and an innovative processing technique to enhance the functional properties of pulse proteins for further development of innovative pulse protein-based foods;
  • evaluating nitrogen fertilizer management and iron fertilizer management strategies for improving dry edible bean quantity and quality in western Nebraska;
  • identifying mungbean varieties adaptable to western Nebraska; and
  • mapping common bacterial blight and common rust resistance genes in Tepary beans to learn how to enhance resistance levels in dry beans.

Four additional groups in Nebraska received funding this year. Mac’s Creek Winery and Brewery received funding to study a more sustainable approach to grapevine weed and disease control by eliminating and reducing chemical pesticide and herbicide spraying in Nebraska vineyards and apple orchards.

The USDA awarded funds to the Arbor Day Foundation to use ozone technology to reduce pesticide usage and improve food safety in small Nebraska fruit orchards.

The USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council received funding to conduct an international trade mission to meet with food aid organization CEOs, purchasing managers, nutritionists and other key personnel. The trade team will travel to Washington, D.C. and Rome, Italy.

Through USDA funding, NDA will continue to conduct Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) soil surveys to monitor for the presence of PCN as required to maintain Nebraska’s PCN pest-free status.

All of the projects receiving SCBGP funding this year must be completed by Sept. 29, 2023. For a list of funds awarded to each state and more information about past projects, go to USDA’s website at ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/awards.

NDA administered a two-phase competitive grant application process for these SCBGP funds. Phase I involved the submission of concept proposals, which allowed applicants to explain the main points of their project. The concept proposals were independently and competitively scored by a field review panel. Projects with the highest combined scores were asked to complete Phase II of the application process and include a more in-depth description of the project.

Senate Ag Committee Member Debbie Stabenow is leading a group of 15 senators asking Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to reverse a decision that excluded dairy farmers from getting coronavirus aid for losses from meat produced from breeding animals.

The Hagstrom Report says the senators point out that losses from meat produced from breeding animals were included in the first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, but not in the second, which is known as CFAP 2. “This change will affect the livestock industry and will be particularly harmful to dairy farmers, who often operate at extremely tight margins,” the senators wrote in the letter. “The decision is even more troubling considering that USDA clearly has sufficient resources to cover these losses.”

Additionally, they say the move would avoid confusing farmers. “It will be less complicated for both USDA and livestock farmers to cover all livestock and avoid confusion about what animals are covered or excluded,” they add. The senators say dairy farmers were struggling with prolonged market uncertainty, unfair trade practices, and the Administration’s “chaotic trade policies” long before COVID-19 hit.

Considering the industry’s tight margins, the decision to exclude dairy farm losses related to meat production will be a significant blow.

The National Milk Producers Federation urges all dairy farmers to sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage Program. Enrollment in the program administered by the Department of Agriculture opened Tuesday.

NMPF cites the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and the expectation of volatile dairy margins in the next year, in the need for DMC protection. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “Coronavirus-related volatility in dairy markets is expected to continue well into 2021, with DMC payments a possibility.” DMC, the main risk-protection tool for dairy farmers enacted in the 2018 farm bill, is designed to promote stable revenues and protect against financial catastrophe on some or all of a farmer’s milk.

Despite forecasts in late 2019 predicting that DMC assistance would not be needed by farmers in 2020, margins instead fell to their lowest levels in more than a decade in the first half of this year, triggering payments that kept many dairies afloat. NMPF says DMC coverage offers certainty in times of need, allowing for better financial planning and faster payment when necessary.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday announced that it was extending authorization for all schools to offer free meals for students through the 2020-21 school year. The move is intended to allow districts the flexibility in offering either in-person or off-site meal programs for students as the country continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

“The USDA has taken the lead on ensuring that our nation’s children have access to warm, nutritional meals, no matter their schooling situation or the family’s ability to pay,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “As a father, grandfather and physician, I am committed to ensuring that our children, especially those unable to return to the classroom, are provided access to school lunches and provided an opportunity for access to at least one hot meal each day. Since the start of this pandemic, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has ensured that the USDA and its meal programs were responding to the needs of the schools and communities that it serves, and I applaud this next step in maintaining nutritional support for our most vulnerable.” 

 

“As our nation recovers and reopens, we want to ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious breakfasts and lunches they count on during the school year wherever they are, and however they are learning,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are grateful for the heroic efforts by our school food service professionals who are consistently serving healthy meals to kids during these trying times, and we know they need maximum flexibility right now. I appreciate President Trump for his unwavering commitment to ensuring kids receive the food they need during this pandemic and for supporting USDA in continuing to provide these unprecedented flexibilities.”  

This announcement builds on several previous program changes and flexibilities implemented by the USDA starting in March to ensure schools could continue to provide meals for their students. USDA previously extended child nutrition waivers through December 2020 based upon available funding at the time. The flexibilities extended today will allow schools and other local program operators to continue to leverage the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide no cost meals to all children both on-site at schools or at meal sites in the community.

OMAHA (DTN) — USDA on Friday released its October Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports.

According to DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman, Friday’s new U.S. ending stocks estimates were neutral for corn and wheat, bullish for soybeans, while the world ending stocks estimates were neutral for corn, bullish for soybeans and bearish for wheat.

Check this page throughout the morning for important highlights from the reports and commentary from our analysts on what the numbers mean.

You can also access the full reports here:

— Crop Production: https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

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

SOYBEANS

USDA lowered soybean ending stocks for the 2020-21 marketing year to 290 million bushels, a 170 mb decline from September that was just slightly above the lowest pre-report estimate. USDA trimmed production forecasts by 45 mb, lowered beginning stocks by 52 mb and increased exports by 75 mb.

CORN

Old-crop corn ending stocks for 2019-20 were dropped 258 mb to 1.995 bb. With those lower beginning stocks, USDA also ended with lower corn ending stocks for 2020-21, which USDA dropped 336 mb to 2.167 bb. Production was pegged at 14.722 bb, down 178 mb from the September report.

Corn yields were adjusted ever so slightly to 178.4 bushels per acre, down from 178.5 million bushels in last month’s report. Harvest acres were also cut by 1 million acres down to 82.5 million acres.

For crop demand, USDA lowered feed and residual use by 50 mb to 6.475 bb. Ethanol demand was also lowered by 50 mb to 5.05 bb. Export demand was held at 2.325 bb, the same as September.

Total use was pegged at 14.575 bb, a 100 mb drop from the September report. With ending stocks at 2.167 bb, that dropped the stocks-to-use ratio for corn down to 14.8%, compared to 17% just a month ago.

The average farm price for the 2020-21 corn crop was pegged at $3.60 a bushel, a dime above last month’s estimate.

Globally, USDA also lowered beginning stocks 4.91 million metric tons (mmt) and lowered global production 3.56 billion bushels as well. Exports were lowered 1.56 mmt as well. Collectively, that dropped the global ending stocks down 6.34 mmt for September to 300.45 mmt.

LIVESTOCK

USDA increased expected beef supply projections to 27.2 billion pounds, an increase of 90 million pounds from September estimates. Total use of beef is expected to increase by 255 million pounds during the month of October to 27.7 billion pounds. Pork supplies are estimated to decrease 80 million pounds during the month of October to 28.2 billon pounds. Export expectations of pork decreased by 200 million pounds in the October estimate at 7.3 billion pounds, moving total use to 21.8 billion pounds, based on increased domestic disappearance in the market. Estimated steer prices increased to $108.71 per cwt compared to September projections of $107.3 per cwt. Barrow and gilt prices posted the most significant projected price increase moving to $43.25 per cwt in Octobers estimate from September’s target of $39.40 per cwt.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated six Nebraska counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Colfax, Cuming, Dawes, Dodge, Stanton and Thurston counties who suffered losses caused by recent drought may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Producers in the contiguous counties listed below are also eligible to apply for emergency loans:

  • Nebraska: Box Butte, Burt, Butler, Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Madison, Pierce, Platte, Saunders, Sheridan, Sioux, Washington and Wayne
  • Iowa: Monona and Woodbury
  • South Dakota: Fall River and Oglala Lakota

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is May 11, 2021.

FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish ProgramEmergency Conservation ProgramLivestock Forage Disaster ProgramLivestock Indemnity ProgramOperating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.

Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at farmers.gov/recover.

There was plenty to talk about coming off of the USDA report that sent corn, soybeans, and wheat sharply higher but also threw a wrench in cattle trade. Arlan is keeping an eye on weather in both South America and the Black Sea Region. He also breaks down cash trade in cattle and why hogs are still trying to sort out their latest report almost a week later.

 

The quarterly hogs and pigs report released by the USDA showed that in the third quarter of 2020 the US hog inventory was up 1% vs. year ago levels.

According to USDA the US inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2020 was 79.1 million head. This was up 1% from September 1, 2019, but down 1% from June 1, 2020. Breeding inventory, at 6.33 million head, was down 2% from last year, but up slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 72.8 million head, was up 1% percent from last year, but down 1% from last quarter. The June-August 2020 pig crop, at 35.1 million head, was down 3% from 2019. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.18 million head, down 3% from 2019. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50% of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.04 for the June-August period, compared to 11.11 last year.

US hog producers intend to have 3.12 million sows farrow during the September-November 2020 quarter, down 5% from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, and down 3% from the same period two years earlier. Intended farrowings for December 2020-February 2021, at 3.11 million sows, are down 1%
from the same period one year earlier, but up slightly from the same period two years earlier.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 47% of the total United States hog inventory, down 1% from the previous year.

Darrell Holaday, Country Futures, believes there is some discrepancy between the USDA data and the cash hog market. Cash hogs continue to move higher which doesn’t line up with a larger supply as the data indicates.

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%