September 24, 2021 at 7:06 p.m.

Senate committee reviews federal orders reform

By Don Wick- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

    According to New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, federal milk marketing orders are confusing and an outdated pricing system. Gillibrand chaired a subcommittee hearing that considered the dairy market. Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman voiced concern about the steady decline in the number of dairy farms. Boozman also warned against using the budget reconciliation bill to change tax and policies. 

Dairy price forecast updated
    USDA has raised its dairy export forecast for 2021 and 2022. USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski credits the demand for butter, skim milk powder, cheese and whey. That has influenced the dairy price outlook. “The all-milk price forecast for 2021 was raised 20 cents per cwt. to $18.15 per cwt. and for 2022, we raised the all-milk forecast by 55 cents per cwt. to $18.40 per cwt. If realized, it leads to a slight increase year-over-year of about 25 cents per cwt. for 2022 compared to 2021.”

Stepped-up basis not included in budget reconciliation
    The House Ways and Means Committee has approved the budget reconciliation rules for the Budget Committee. This language does not include changes to stepped-up basis as had been feared by many in agriculture. House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott released a statement, saying this decision will allow farmers and ranchers to pass on their operation from one generation to another and protect them from significant tax increases.

Immigration reform proposal rejected   
    The Senate parliamentarian has ruled against a Democratic plan to include its immigration reform proposal into the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. The proposal would have provided 8 million green cards and giving immigrants, including agricultural workers, a path to citizenship.

Port challenges
    Hurricane Ida and the damage at the Port of New Orleans is the latest hurdle for the shipping business. For this past year, agricultural exporters have faced problems trying to secure shipping container space on ocean vessels. Foreign-owned and operated ocean carriers are opting to return empty containers to China rather than allowing time for them to be loaded. More than 70% of containers leaving the West Coast ports are empty. National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern said, “Ocean carriers are abusing a unique situation created by the pandemic and the lack of sufficient regulatory action to enforce reasonable shipping practices.” NMPF and other ag groups are working together trying to convince the Biden Administration and Congress to address these unfair trading practices.

China seeks membership in TPP
    China has officially turned in its application to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If realized, China would be the largest country participating in the trade deal. Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan are a few of the other members of the TPP. The United States was part of the planning for this trade agreement, but President Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2017. 

Checkoff vote
    Due to the pandemic, USDA extended the beef checkoff referendum petition drive until Sunday, Oct. 3. The original deadline was in July. The national beef checkoff rate is $1 per head sold. That money is invested in promotion, research and market development. Dairy farmers also pay into the beef checkoff program.

Farm income forecast
    The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute is projecting significant increases in farm income this year. Strong commodity prices and government payments will help net farm income to reach the highest level since 2013. FAPRI is also forecasting a drop in farm income in 2022.
Merger vote expected
    Pending a review and approval by the Farm Credit Administration, AgCountry Farm Credit Services and Farm Credit Services of North Dakota will go before the stockholders for a merger vote. AgCountry FCS is based in Fargo, North Dakota, and has members in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. If approved, the merger will take effect Jan. 1.

AFBF names new chief economist
    As of Oct. 4, Dr. Roger Cryan will take over as the new chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. For the past nine years, Cryan was the director of the economics division for the dairy program at USDA. Cryan previously served in a similar role at the National Milk Producers Federation.

Former EPA official moves to EWG
    John Reeder has joined the Environmental Working Group as its vice president for federal affairs. For the past four years, Reeder taught at American University’s School of Public Affairs. Before that, he spent more than 30 years at the Environmental Protection Agency. Reeder is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and its Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Hicken family to receive FFA VIP award
    Jeff Hicken, who served the past 15 years as the Wisconsin State FFA advisor and agricultural education consultant with the Department of Public Instruction, will posthumously receive the National FFA VIP Citation at the National FFA Convention. Hicken passed away unexpectantly in mid-June. The National FFA Convention will take place Oct. 27-30 in Indianapolis.
Excellence in ag finalists announced
    The finalists have been named for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Excellence in Ag Award. This recognition is for agriculturalists who do not derive the majority of their income from farming. The finalists are Stephanie Abts of Manitowoc County, Julie Sweney of Dodge County, Julie Wadzinski of Barron County and Kellie Zahn of Shawano County. Abts is a dairy nutritionist. Sweney is a communications director for a dairy cooperative. Wadzinski is an ag instructor and Zahn is an ag agent.

Trivia challenge
    More than 650 companies will be part of the World Dairy Expo trade show this year. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, who is the CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council? We’ll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
    Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.


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