AG Rural News

The Agriculture Energy Coalition wants Congress and the Biden administration to increase funding for USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Director Lloyd Ritter says the coalition, made up of many organizations in the ag energy and ag climate space, would like to see a financial infusion of more than $2 billion over ten years to the popular REAP program. “Make it more sort of beneficial for rural communities, and really just be a big climate solution program in the ag and rural sector.” He tells Brownfield without additional REAP dollars, people will continue to be turned away. ...
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The USDA has extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through the Single Family Housing loan program. It’s part of the Biden administration’s move to give families more time during the pandemic to make payments. The date has been extended to June 30th. USDA Rural Development says hundreds of thousands of people and families hold USDA single family housing loans. A recent Census Bureau survey shows more than eight-million homeowners are behind on mortgage payments. ...
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Ag News

Red meat exports for February trended below year ago levels, but the head of the US Meat Export Federation says the 2021 outlook remains strong.  Dan Halstrom says the US can hardly keep up with the rapidly increasing demand for high-quality grain-fed beef in China. “We set another record with 8,600 tons exported the month of February,” he says.  “That’s compared to 500 tons a year ago.  The supply chain continues to expand with China-eligible cattle and we’re seeing it reflected in the meat export numbers.” He tells Brownfield, they’re also seeing strong demand for US beef in Central America...
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A new kind of farm is competing for land in southwestern Illinois. Grain farmer Dean Campbell of Coulterville tells Brownfield instead of competing with neighboring crop and livestock farmers to rent ground, he is fighting a losing battle with emerging solar farms. “We have a development that happened to pick up 160 acres of our rent property and is nibbling at the door of 200 more.” He says there is a power plant 10 miles west their farm and a new one 5 miles north. ...
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American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall pledged member support of vaccine efforts during the launch of the COIVD-19 Community Corps with Vice President Kamala Harris and requested food and ag workers remain essential during distribution. “It is important to Farm Bureau that our farmers and our employees have priority access to the vaccine given the important role that we play on the frontlines of our food supply,” he says. He says their organization is working to address barriers that exist to get people vaccinated and other concerns. ...
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The Philippines government will provide more market access to pork imports.  Joe Schuele with the US Meat Export Federation says the Philippines is a major importer of pork, but until now has had the highest import tariffs in the world, which has limited access.  “While we’ve seen an increase in business in the Philippines, it really doesn’t reflect their overall product need,” he says.  “We could ship much more there with lower tariff rates and that’s why we’re very excited about this announcement.” He tells Brownfield the tariff reductions are in effect for the next year.  ...
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