AG Rural News

The latest Rural Mainstreet Index has sunk below growth neutral for a sixth straight month. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says lower agricultural commodity prices has been the biggest factor. “It’s the top risk at least according to the bankers. “Now they’re not farmers but they got close ties to the farmers and when we ask them about the biggest risk for the farmers they listed that one.” The index is a monthly survey of ag bankers in 10 states including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. ...
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The USDA has released the results of the 2022 Census of Agriculture and it shows a continued decrease in the number of U.S. farming operations. “I’m concerned about the state of agriculture and food production in this country,” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday. Vilsack says the decline is significant. “In 2017 when we did this survey, there were 2,042,220 farms,” he said. “Today, the survey reports we have 1.9 million farms. ...
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Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Minnesota this week to highlight USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. Governor Tim Walz accompanied Vilsack during a stop to a farm near St. Charles in the southeastern part of the state and tells Brownfield REAP is creating value-added opportunities. “We were at a farm that put up a wind turbine, and they talked about REAP helping them on the front end and how they got a return on the investment and started to see a profit after two years.” He says Minnesota leads the country in REAP grant recipients. ...
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The Center for Rural Affairs says access to high-speed internet continues to be a challenge in some agricultural areas. Jillian Linster, interim policy director, says the Biden administration’s ReConnect Program funding should help jumpstart projects across the country. “The federal money is just starting to come in and we haven’t had the opportunity to see the full roll out yet.” She says some states are helping officials identify which areas are underserved. ...
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Ag News

The U.S. Department of Treasury has agreed to revise a proposed rule to help benefit the production of biogas. Earlier this month, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski of Illinois and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio sent a letter urging the department to revise its rule that excludes Inflation Reduction Act tax credits from being used to support the conversion of biogas into renewable natural gas.  Budzinski says the measure paid off… “Some very positive news back from the letter saying that they were going to make basically one important correction to the proposed rule,” she says, “which would include gas upgrading equipment to the...
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The chief ag negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says there have been some challenges reducing tariffs as work continues to improve global market access for U.S. biofuels. Doug McKalip says one of the biggest hurdles has been removing Brazil’s 18% tariff on U.S. biofuels. McKalip says he recently met with Brazil leaders and had straightforward discussions, “As a result of that conversation, Secretary (Neri) Gellar promised to me that he would go back, meet with the Brazilian CAMEX (Foreign Trade Chamber), and to put together a proposal for us on how they might change their direction.” McKalip says...
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