Farm Bankruptcies Rise For Fifth Consecutive Year

IARN — Economic hardships persist in rural America, and farm bankruptcies continue to increase year-over-year.

Newly released data from U.S. Courts indicates year-to-year farm bankruptcies increased 23-percent. John Newton, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, say the new figures rival “what we have seen in the past.”

“When we look at the last 12 months, we had nearly 630 Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings. That’s up 23-percent from the same 12-month period, ending in March 2019. This is prior to all of the damage related to the coronavirus,” Newton said. Read more

Proposed Stimulus Legislation Includes Provisions For Biofuels

IARN — Newly proposed legislation includes provisions for biofuels.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday introduced a fourth stimulus package. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, otherwise known as the HEROES Act, includes support for biofuels producers.

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Chief Executive Officer Brian Jennings is pleased to see support for biofuels. He notes biofuel producers were excluded from earlier stimulus measures. Read more

Market Analyst Optimistic About Phase One Trade Deal

IARN — Private exporters on Wednesday confirmed new sales to China. The Asian nation purchased 396,000 metric tons of soybeans. Half of the sale is old crop, while the other half is new crop.

Greg McBride, branch manager of Ag Market Net, says this is “a good sign,” and believes China remains committed to fulfilling Phase One trade agreements, despite beliefs about the nation wanting to renegotiate terms of the agreement.

“They’ve been aggressive in buying the last couple of weeks. I have to admit, I was a little bit surprised yesterday when the government lowered old crop sales of beans,” McCormick said. “Maybe there’s a shot they’ll bring those back up, if the sales heat up as we move through the heart of summer.” Read more

Group Seeks Priority COVID-19 Testing For Food And Ag Workers

IARN — The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance wants the White House to prioritize COVID-19 testing for food and agriculture workers. The group sent the request in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week. The organization urges that food and agriculture workers, as part of an essential industry, be heightened in priority for expedited testing, personal protective equipment, and any other forthcoming treatment related to COVID-19. Read more

Grassley, Colleagues Introduce Bill To Increase Transparency In Cattle Pricing

IARN — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) along with his colleagues Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) today introduced legislation to foster efficient markets while increasing competition and transparency among meatpackers who purchase livestock directly from independent producers. This bill will require that a minimum of 50 percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume of beef slaughter be purchased on the open or spot market.

“The lack of transparency in cattle pricing isn’t a new problem, but the negative effects of the fire in Holcomb, Kansas, and COVID-19 have highlighted the need for additional price transparency measures to ensure producers are getting a fair price for the hard work of raising cattle. Food doesn’t come from the grocery store; it comes from tens of thousands of farmers and independent producers who work day and night to ensure families across the country have an abundant supply of food. Independent producers deserve to be paid what their beef is worth,” Grassley said. Read more